The Women's Room ; From Eve to Dawn ) brings a novelist's eye, a scholar's sense of detail and a feminist&#"/>

In the Name of Friendship

Marilyn French, Author, Stephanie Genty, Afterword by . Feminist $24.95 (407p) ISBN 978-1-55861-521-2

French (The Women's Room ; From Eve to Dawn ) brings a novelist's eye, a scholar's sense of detail and a feminist's worldview to this didactic examination of marriage, parenthood, work and the creative process. Four friends meet to celebrate Lady Day, one of several "private holidays" celebrated at a Berkshires retreat for the affluent and artistic: Maddy, 76, a lawyer's wife and mother turned real estate agent; Emily, 70, a music teacher and composer; Alicia, 50, a New York–born writer whose psychologist husband has difficulty accepting his gay son; and Jenny, 30, an artist fitfully married to a more successful artist. In alternating chapters, French follows each woman as she struggles with her domestic grievances. To her credit, French provides no easy answers where families are concerned, though she has no problem defining what relationships are, what they ought to be and what the associated emotions feel like. And while her female characters are all strong and have no trouble finding success, the men feel uncomfortably campy, making this a novel for women with a progressive perspective on gender bias and an old-fashioned fondness for discussing the curveballs life lobs. Footnoted afterword and author bibliography by Stephanie Genty. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/15/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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