Florence Gordon

Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780544309869. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780544309289. F
New York City serves as a beloved character in Morton's study of a woman who can best be described as a force of nature. A noted feminist writer with an acerbic wit, Florence Gordon tolerates the company of only her oldest and closest friends. She has a former husband who's a less successful writer and a son whose family inhales the cultural richness of the city as they move to New York from Seattle, imposing on Florence. At the same time as her life's work is suddenly thrust into the national spotlight, 75-year-old Florence's health begins to decline. Still, she remains the matriarch of a family that avoids authentic interaction through snappy repartee that needs to be decoded if any real meaning is to be found. It all builds up to one weekend when everyone deceives everyone else on some level; each character must then begin the process of dealing with the consequences of his or her own choices.
VERDICT This novel shows us how a woman uses her strengths and her lifelong friendships to face challenges strictly on her own terms. Morton (Starting Out in the Evening) has created an obstreperous, rebellious character who is likable for being true to herself. [See Prepub Alert, 3/31/14.]
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