Tina Jordan
April 06, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

At 31, A.J. Homes learned her birth mother was looking for her. Her mother, it turns out, got pregnant when she was an unwed 22-year-old in an affair with her married boss. Homes meets both: her clingy mom and arrogant dad. Despite some physical similarities — ”his butt looks familiar; I am watching him and I’m thinking: There goes my ass” — Homes finds nothing of herself in the man. The first part of The Mistress’s Daughter, which ran in The New Yorker, is a powerful examination of family and self, of the adopted versus the biological, but its impact is diluted in the meandering second half. As always, though, Homes’ prose remains razor sharp. B

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