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KLIATTDepartures 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 example. They develop an understanding of the sacrifices she, a single mother, has had to make in order to give them a good life. As the reason for her disappearance emerges, the daughters appreciate their mother as a person who remains true to herself and continues to fulfill her own separate needs. Departures also examines generational pressure (how the mother's parents influenced her rebellion in the '60s), communication difficulties among people in a family, and theimportance of family ties. This novel is a "thinking" book rather than an "action" story and will appeal to adults and mature teens who enjoy studying relationships and inter-relationships, especially among women. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Penguin, Berkley, 341p., Ages 15 to adult.