Books: A Prodigal Daughter Returns THE COMPANY OF WOMEN by Mary Gordon

Random House; 291 pages; $12.95

THE COMPANY OF WOMEN by Mary Gordon; Random House; 291 pages; $12.95

American fiction in 1978 rang with two strong young voices: John Irving's in The World According to Garp and Mary Gordon's in her first novel, Final Payments. Both books dealt with the unavoidable responsibilities and equally unavoidable satisfactions of family, though the world according to Gordon was quite different from Irving's literary Astrodome. Readers of Final Payments found themselves in a small house in a working-class neighborhood of Queens, Archie Bunker country without one-liners. The heroine, Isabel Moore, had spent all of...

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