Megan Harlan
August 01, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Inventing Memory: A Novel of Mothers and Daughters

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Erica Jong
genre
Fiction

We gave it a C+

In Erica Jong’s sweeping but thinly imagined saga, Inventing Memory: A Novel of Mothers and Daughters, four generations of Jewish moms and daughters remember their lives, loves, and callings — there’s painter Sarah, a turn-of-the-century Russian emigre to America; Parisian flapper- cum-avant-garde writer Salome; Sally, a famous 1960s folksinger; and single mom Sara, the family historian. Marred by romance-novel plotlines, schmaltzy writing (”I may be a Yiddishe mama, but I’m a red-hot Yiddishe mama!”), and juiceless historical settings, the characters teeter between humorless idealizations and stereotypical having-it-all gals. It’s a long century away from Isadora Wing. C+

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