October 04, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

A Place Called Home

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Mickey Pearlman

This evocative collection of essays by 20 women writers — including Maxine Hong Kingston and Erica Jong — is proof that you can indeed go home again. But what exactly is home? Rosellen Brown says, ”You are defined by it, your vision made by it, though no one ever asked your opinion of the matter.” For Jill McCorkle, it is ”the smell of fatback and biscuits…[a] garden where the rows of corn were thick enough for a good game of hide and seek.” Yet home does not always reflect cozy sentiments stitched on a sampler. Bitter memories of anti-Semitism haunt Dani Shapiro, while Mary Morris remarks that ”Illinois follows me around…like some stalker I can’t shake.” Their addresses are different, but these talented women make it wonderfully clear in A Place Called Home that ultimately their true home is, as one of them puts it, on the page. A

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