Picks and Pans Review: Loving Edith

updated 05/29/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Mary Tannen

Everybody loves Edith Seagrace. Radiant, wide-eyed and 21, Edith has come from Upstate New York to Manhattan during a record-breaking heat wave to intern at an intellectually trendy magazine, Ubu, and to create unintentional havoc in every life she touches.

What compels Edith is nothing less than her own complicated and hidden history. Adopted at birth by a kindly country doctor, she has never known her natural mother, Lulu, a free-spirited artist who, 21 years earlier, had a brief but productive fling with none other than Ubu's esteemed editor-in-chief.

In other words, Edith has unwittingly come to work at her own father's magazine. What's more, Lulu is aware of Edith's imminent arrival and arranges for her to stay in the same building where she is camping out.

In the hands of a writer less deft, such a series of coincidences might seem manipulative if not unbelievable. But Tannen doesn't miss a step in this gracefully conceived gavotte. (River-head, $22.95)

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