An accomplished writer of fiction ( The Waiting Room ) and nonfiction ( Nothing to Declare ), Morris here creates a sensitive, intriguing and touching portrait of a single mother struggling with eternal issues that are given a timely twist. Narrator Ivy Slovak, a California-born and Nevada-raised jewelry designer, lives in Manhattan with her infant son. Although the baby's father, Matthew, claims no interest in parenthood, he occasionally wavers in his resolve--an excruciating tease for the financially strapped and emotionally isolated new mother. Moreover, Ivy is swamped by memories of her own mother, who deserted her and her father when Ivy was seven, taking with her Ivy's younger sister. Unwilling to accept maternal abandonment, Ivy has gone so far as to hire a private detective. Meanwhile, other motherly figures enter her life: neighbor Mara, who hands down baby clothes and gentle advice, and Viviana, the brusque but kind baby-sitter. An infertile couple provides an ironic contrast to Ivy's excess of parenting responsibilities. As usual, Morris's writing is mature and insightful as she explores the new perspective from which a mother views and hears familiar sights and sounds: the faces of missing children on milk cartons; a TV nature show about birds raising their young; the quickening footsteps of a stranger behind her in the subway. This novel of loss and hope indeed reveals how ``our lives are shaped as much by those who refuse to love us as by those who do.'' (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993 Release date: 03/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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