Picks and Pans Review: Family Happiness

updated 11/08/1982 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/08/1982 01:00AM

by Laurie Colwin

Happiness is having a new book by Colwin to provide that warm feeling she and few other writers seem able to produce these days. This novel centers on a nice young matron, wed to an overworked lawyer she adores, who finds herself hooked into and resenting her roles—perfect wife, daughter and mother. Will she rebel by having an affair with an artist friend? The scene is New York, and the family is wealthy and Jewish, though not religious—a tribe that has turned almost everything in life into an elegant ritual. Colwin's characters may be brighter and prettier than anyone we know but, unlike most writers of glossy women's fiction, the author doesn't just tell us her people are wonderful, she shows us. Colwin's fiction is also enjoyable for the pleasure she finds in detail—of the characters' moods, feelings, clothing, of seasons and smells. As she did in 1978's Happy All the Time, Colwin can fall into cuteness—the children here are precious—but the book delights from beginning to end. (Knopf, $12.95)

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