Social Studies

In her new novel, Susan Isaacs explores the issue of class

Amy Lincoln, the Harvard-educated star reporter in Susan Isaacs' new novel, Any Place I Hang My Hat (Scribner), has nowhere to go but up. Her father Chicky was in and out of prison, her mother Phyllis abandoned her as an infant, and Grandma Lil was known to shoplift dinner on her way home. Why did the author choose such a steep mountain for her heroine to climb? "I'm kind of interested in social class, which we're not supposed to have, but of course we do," says Isaacs. "We're such a mobile society--upwardly, downwardly and geographically."

Isaacs, 60, has hopped up the social...