Veteran anthologist Pearlman (Between Friends, 1994, etc.) comes up with yet another collection of original, lyrical pieces from a stellar group of writers. The theme this time is ""home,"" and for the 20 women writers who share their feelings on the subject, home can mean many things. For Marcie Hershman, it is the two-family house that she bought because her mother wanted her lesbian daughter to have ""something to count on""; for Dani Shapiro, home evokes horrible memories of anti-Semitic incidents directed against her family in the suburban New Jersey neighborhood where she grew up. Meg Pei finds home in a summer house her family owned during her youth; Francine Prose remembers a rented house where she lived for seven months before the birth of her child. For Jill McCorkle, home is the house of her childhood, complete with happy memories of a warm and loving family; for Julie Smith, home is a place that needs to be discovered, while the locale of one's childhood remains forever alien, a part of a receding past. The most compelling aspect of this collection is the writers' attempts to understand the concept of home--as a place, as a memory, as a feeling within oneself. None of them imagines that there is an easy answer to the question of what ""home"" means: The answer may be troubled, or contented, or ambivalent, but it is never obvious, and it can never be taken for granted. One small caution to the reader: Read in one sitting, these pieces tend to blend into an amorphous mass. But each essay is wonderful in its own right and deserves to be read with care and concentration.