The Dance of the Mothers

Millicent Dillon, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-93312-0
In this provocative, affecting second novel, Dillon, whose recent After Egypt was a joint biography of Isadora Duncan and Mary Cassatt, effectively portrays the inner lives of three California housewives in the 1950s and reminds us of the emotional complexity of what seem the most average existences. Anna, Leona and Aleida join a modern dance class in the small town where their husbands work in the fledgling computer industry. As their reasons for enrolling in the class unfold, dance becomes a metaphor for their ways of moving through their lives, explaining how they have ended up where they are and will get where they are going. Anna, the central character, with a husband, two children and a house in the suburbs, follows the ideal '50s lifestyle, but lacks the vocabulary to express and thus acknowledge her dissatisfaction. Leona relishes stability, but finds her world turned upside down one night at an ordinary cocktail party. Aleida, beautiful and cunning, seeks revenge on a world that has withheld the power, fame, money she believes she deserves. Dillon's delicate touch with the subtle changes these women experience gives their stories the immediacy and impact of dance itself. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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