THREE WOMEN by Marge Piercy

THREE WOMEN

KIRKUS REVIEW

Three generations, three strong wills, and the never-resolved conflicts within a family are the bedrock of this latest from the wide-ranging Piercy (Storm Tide, 1998, etc.). The women of the title, reunited by unfortunate circumstances, have to struggle through physical and emotional impediments to reach an understanding, and with it an uneasy peace. In the eye of this familial tempest stands Suzanne, a successful appeals-court attorney and law professor, enjoying midlife solitude in suburban Boston, complete with a harmless online romance, after raising two daughters largely by herself. The first winds of change blow back into Suzanne’s life her beautiful but unsettled child Elena, in her late 20s and freshly jobless and homeless, still reeling from an adolescence marred by tragedy. Scarcely has Elena settled in when Beverly, Suzanne’s labor-organizer mother, who heaped scorn on her daughter’s lifestyle and choice of profession, has a stroke that overnight turns her from an energetic, free-thinking woman proud of her looks and her life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, into a speechless cripple. Suzanne brings Beverly home to live with them, and tries to juggle work, family, and the intense pleasure of a new physical relationship with her online partner, Jake. But Elena’s way of settling in is to start an ill-fated affair with the husband of Suzanne’s best friend, with whom they share the house, and when the transgressors are discovered in the act, the ensuing rage of emotions brings on Beverly’s second stroke. As Suzanne watches helplessly while her savings are converted to convalescent care, Beverly, convinced she won—t recover, makes increasing demands on daughter and granddaughter to help her to die. While the tempestuous turns occasionally prove excessive, the tangled relationships here are credible to the core, with the voices of the older generations being especially poignant.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-17106-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999




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