By the author of Chasing Dad (1980) and Sins of Omission (1984), a far less grimly eventful tale, again set in North Carolina--here concerned with the churning accommodations, revelations, loves and hates of three sisters as they attempt to come to grips with their common past, dominated by the towering presence of their late mother. The day she died, Mother's three daughters--Katherine, Jude and Louise (the ""baby"")--say goodbye to her in the hospital. Mother--who had divorced a good and gentle man for a stormy, passionate second marriage, who drank to excess and made scenes--stages an impressive deathbed dialogue. And what does she mean by the enigmatic last shot: ""The answer is always yes""? Katherine, the eldest, always certain that Mother ""loved and hated her the most,"" will find herself facing Mother's cliff-edge choice--security or passion. She also, still not sure of what she wants ""to be,"" refuses to become pregnant by husband Frank, who's ""humble and generous and honest and kind,"" and then there's the wild, clear call to ecstasy with a poet/professor. Jude, divorced with two tots, and sleeping around aimlessly, considers wriggling out of ""family as one thing,"" and finding the courage for independence away from the sisters. Louise graduates from college, loses an old boyfriend, learns that she can now act for herself. All three having made difficult decisions, Katherine then--at the close--offers a fairly objective, even loving profile of Mother, and there are hugs all around. Flynt, in a prose of highly focused energy, turns and turns the preoccupations of the sisters under intent scrutiny, searching for the luster that just ain't there. The sisters, by and large, are just not too far removed in their brooding from some sudsy heroines of pop lit. Still, the mother/sisters bonding problems have an appeal.