Three Daughters

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

An ebullient novel about family secrets and the triumph of sisterly love

Driven by a legacy of lies, the shame of their own imperfections, and impending chaos in each of their well-ordered married lives, the three Wasserman daughters struggle with themselves and one another to break their parents' silence and understand their past.

Shoshanna, control freak and world-class problem solver, stands on the brink of a Big Birthday in the shadow of the Evil Eye, trying to enjoy her happiness and to overcome her fears while also engineering a double reconciliation between her estranged sisters, and between Leah and their rabbi father. Leah, a brilliant English professor and unreconstructed leader of the left, eloquent and foul-mouthed, a crusading feminist and a passionately conflicted wife and mother, grapples with the meaning of abandonment and the unfamiliar demands of her own roiling needs. Rachel, who has papered over her losses with an athlete's discipline, a fact fetishist's sense of order, and a pragmatism bordering on self-sacrifice, watches her carefully constructed world fall apart and in the rubble discovers the woman she was meant to be.

Three Daughters is a rich and complex story of three lives, their loves, and the web of relationships that either hold these lives together or hopelessly entangle them.


Read an Excerpt

Three Daughters
oneTHE DRIVER OF THE DODGE CARAVAN gave Shoshanna the finger, gesticulating furiously through his windshield like the villain in a silent movie.You couldn’t blame the guy. She was a horrific sight—a wild-eyed middle-aged virago in a mud-splattered coat racing across the Henry Hudson Parkway to snatch a piece of paper from the pavement. She rammed the paper into her pocket and ran back to the shoulder of the road, unflustered by her close call, then dropped to her haunches and studied the oncoming traffic. That was the nerve-racking part, waiting for the right conditions,


Praise for Three Daughters

"More than anything else, this is a novel about family, in a Jewish sense -- about the impossibility of regarding oneself as an individual when every action has the power to change another person's life . . . Pogrebin offers an incisively honest assessment not only of the feminist movement, but of the high price exacted from those who attempt to live without compromise." -Moment

"A dazzling debut novel . . . Pogrebin does a superb job of interweaving several complex personal histories into a humorous and heartbreakingly honest family melodrama."

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Letty Cottin Pogrebin

  • Letty Cottin Pogrebin is the co-founder of Ms. magazine, a nationally known lecturer, and author of eight books of nonfiction, most recently Deborah, Golda and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America and Getting Over Getting Older, a memoir. Three Daughters is her first novel. She lives with her husband in New York City.


Available Formats and Book Details

Three Daughters

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

  • e-Book