Three Daughters by Letty Cottin Pogrebin

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An ebullient novel about family secrets and the triumph of sisterly love

Driven by a legacy of lies, the shame of their own imperfections, and impending chaos in each of their well-ordered married lives, the three Wasserman daughters struggle with themselves and one another to break their parents' silence and understand their past.

Shoshanna, control freak and world-class problem solver, stands on the brink of a Big Birthday in the shadow of the Evil Eye, trying to enjoy her happiness and to overcome her fears while also engineering a double reconciliation between her estranged sisters, and between Leah and their rabbi father. Leah, a brilliant English professor and unreconstructed leader of the left, eloquent and foul-mouthed, a crusading feminist and a passionately conflicted wife and mother, grapples with the meaning of abandonment and the unfamiliar demands of her own roiling needs. Rachel, who has papered over her losses with an athlete's discipline, a fact fetishist's sense of order, and a pragmatism bordering on self-sacrifice, watches her carefully constructed world fall apart and in the rubble discovers the woman she was meant to be.

Three Daughters is a rich and complex story of three lives, their loves, and the web of relationships that either hold these lives together or hopelessly entangle them.


About Letty Cottin Pogrebin

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Letty Cottin Pogrebin is the co-founder of Ms. magazine, a nationally known lecturer, and author of eight books of nonfiction, most recently Deborah, Golda and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America and Getting Over Getting Older, a memoir. Three Daughters is her first novel. She lives with her husband in New York City.
Published June 16, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 410 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Three Daughters

Publishers Weekly

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As for Shoshanna, the youngest, born to Sam and Esther, "[her] challenge was simply to accept that the woman she was was the woman she would likely remain—intrepid, cautious, decent, and fundamentally content with her lot.'' Talky, smart, hopeful and empathic, this will be a must-read for Pogrebi...

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Star Tribune

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Leah Wasserman Rose is Sam's daughter with a woman gone mad;

Oct 19 2002 | Read Full Review of Three Daughters

Book Reporter

In order to present a respectable image to his new congregation, Rabbi Wasserman and Esther tell everyone that Rachel is their daughter and Leah is a niece.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Three Daughters

Project MUSE

That it is Shoshanna who discovers this infidelity gives baby sister an uncomfortable control over her oldest stepsister, raising another theme that runs through the novel: family secrets, lies, cover-ups, and deceits.

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