Other Women by Lisa Alther
With two young sons, a failed marriage, a job as an emergency room nurse that leaves her feeling paralyzed and hopeless, and a relationship with a woman that has entered its bitter final stages, thirty-five-year-old Caroline Kelley is more than ready to change her life. Motherhood, marriage, monogamy, bigamy, polygamy, consumerism, communism, feminism, sex, work, alcohol, drugs, and true love: Caroline has done it all, and now she's at the end of her rope. She's reached the conclusion that only two choices remain: suicide or psychotherapy. Being a realist and, despite it all, a devoted mother, she chooses the latter. At the center of Alther's third novel is Caroline Kelley's wrenching, painfully funny attempt to get her life back on track in her therapy sessions with Dr. Hannah Burke -- a brilliant woman who is forced to reexamine her own demons in order to help Caroline. "Other Women" is Alther's quietest novel, but also her most psychologically acute. The San Francisco Chronicle called the book "powerful, tender and wry...Alther's genius as a novelist is her ability to capture and juxtapose the odd combinations of personality, gender, class, culture, family life and chance that shape human destinies."
New York: Knopf, 1984