Caroline's Daughters

Alice Adams, Author
Alice Adams, Author Alfred A Knopf Inc $22 (307p) ISBN 978-0-394-56825-6
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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As Adams's ( Superior Women ) subtle, involving novel begins, Caroline Carter returns home to San Francisco and to her five daughters by three marriages, most of whom were radicals in the '60s and now live vastly different lives. The eldest daughter, Sage, is an unsuccessful ceramic sculptor whose husband is unfaithful; Liza, the wife of a psychiatrist and the mother of three, wants to be a writer; rich Fiona runs a trendy restaurant; Jill is also raking in money as a lawyer-stockbroker (she turns tricks for kicks and big money); ``shy, strange'' Portia is sexually confused. Caroline is unobtrusively present across the spectrum of her daughters' varied lifestyles, and there is another shadowy link: Roland Gallo, Sage's former lover, who is now bedding Fiona and has a thing for Caroline. Meanwhile, Sage's husband dallies with Jill. Though Adams develops the story in her usual desultory style, there is enough action for all of Caroline's daughters and Caroline herself to undergo huge swings of the pendulum in their careers and private lives. As much a picture of America in the '90s (the specter of AIDS, the growing number of homeless people) as it is of one family's vicissitudes, the novel ends with Caroline's observations about her ``beautiful, selfish, spoiled and greedy girls,'' products of a society visibly coming apart. Literary Guild alternate. (Mar.)
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