cover image The Shortest Distance Between Two Women

The Shortest Distance Between Two Women

Kris Radish, . . Bantam, $13 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80541-3

The Gilford family’s yearly reunion encompasses the lives of matriarch Marty Gilford and her four daughters, especially youngest daughter, Emma, 43, who has spent a good part of her life doing whatever her mother and sisters want without really thinking of herself. Then Samuel, a voice from her past, calls up to rekindle their romance and throws Emma’s well-ordered life into turmoil. Emma is forced to do some tough self-examination and to embrace her sisters for who they are—good and bad. Radish displays an intimate understanding of boisterous families, and as a veteran at portraying female relationships, her affection for her characters shines through, but she’s covering a lot of familial ground here, and it’s easy to confuse the characters. Also, the complaining, put-upon Emma is not totally sympathetic. While those familiar with Southern families will delight in a taste of home and there are many funny parts, overall, Radish’s latest falls short. (Aug.)