Oness, Elizabeth. Departures.

AuthorAllison, Susan
PositionBook Review

ONESS, Elizabeth. Departures. Penguin, Berkley. 341p. c2004. 0-425-19590-2. $14.00. SA

Departures explores the unique and intricate relationships between a mother and each of her three grown daughters, as well as the relationships among the daughters themselves. Their mother has sent each of them a note saying that she has gone out of the country and they are not to try to find her. Pagan, Zeke and Prana each achieve a new level of maturity and become more independent, self-confident, self-directed women as a result of their mother's mysterious departure.

Each daughter's name reflects a spiritual dimension of their mother's early life. Pagan (no religion, free from constriction), Zeke ("Zhikr," from the Suni ceremony of spiritual remembrance), and Prana (Hindu/Indian for energy of the universe) are aptly named in terms of their personalities and role/importance in their mother's life. When their mother disappears, each daughter must confront personal challenges (departures) without the benefit of her counsel: an aborted pregnancy, the termination of a long love affair, and a difficult retreat from a conflicted lesbian relationship. These women gradually learn to communicate more sympathetically with each other and to define themselves for themselves as their mother has taught them by her...

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