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Mother to Mother
by Sindiwe Magona > Beacon Press > $22

"My son killed your daughter." That haunting line launches a most unusual novel, in which a black South African mother dares to explain her son's violence to the grieving mother of the white girl he murdered.

The sweeping tale, by South African writer Sindiwe Magona, springs from the 1993 death of Fulbright scholar Amy Elizabeth Biehl at the hands of black youths in Guguletu township. Biehl, an American, had traveled to South Africa to assist with preparations for the nation's first democratic election; her violent death brought a public outpouring of grief and outrage.

My Lesbian Husband
by Barrie Jean Borich > Graywolf Press > $24.95

Throughout her 12-year relationship with her lover, Barrie Jean Borich's overriding question has been, "Who are we, the two of us, together?" Her quest: to find out "what it looks like to be lesbians in long-time love."

My Lesbian Husband begins with the objects of the shared home life she and Linnea Stenson made in Minneapolis. Not content to simply enjoy what appears to be an enviably compatible arrangement, Borich is brought up short when, for example, her baby brother announces his wedding plans. "But he was not the first to marry, not the way I see it," Borich writes.

Three Women
by Marge Piercy > William Morrow > $25

Marge Piercy's fifteenth novel explores many of the themes with which her readers are so familiar: love, politics, and relationships between women. Suzanne Blume is a high-achieving feminist law professor who struggles to make sense of her often incompatible roles as mother, daughter, lover, and litigator. Elena is Blume's daughter, haunted by her own past and the prospect of a future that her mother has tried so hard to lay out for her. Beverly is Blume's mother and a former union organizer who suffers a stroke that transforms not only her own life but the lives of her daughter and granddaughter as well.


Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009