Twisted Sisters

Circling My Mother
Mary Gordon
Pantheon, $24, 272 pp.

Mary Gordon is not choosy about the grudges she holds on her mother’s behalf. To the contrary, as she repeatedly tells readers in her new memoir, Circling My Mother, she takes a severe kind of pride in their upkeep. Yes, they have served her as a writer, having fed her fiction over the years. But the vigilance required for their conservation has cost her something, too, because Anna Gagliano Gordon suffered so much in her ninety-four years. Not only from polio...

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About the Author

Melinda Henneberger, a Commonweal columnist, is the former editor-in-chief of