<p>Despite extraordinary attention within the past five years by novelists, playwrights, and critics, the subject of mothers and daughters, and motherhood and daughterhood, has remained complicated and compelling. "Mother Puzzles" is a unique collection that examines how women who write have dealt with those relationships. Pearlman notes in her introduction that missing mothers--mothers who are physically present but emotionally absent--are often found in works by women. The question this collection addresses is why the mother, as currently portrayed in American literature by women, has moved from sainted marginality (as icon), to vicious caricature (as destroyer), to the puzzling figure that emerges here, and why these works are often also about incest and sexual abuse. <p>Among the authors studied are Sue Miller, Tillie Olsen, Marilyn French, Gail Godwin, Mary Gordon, Marsha Norman, and Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. Feminist/literary/psychological analyses of "Housekeeping," "Lovingkindness," "Fierce Attachments," "Men and Angels," "'night Mother," "The Snow Queen," and "The Good Mother" are included. These essays will interest scholars in American literature, readers of contemporary fiction, and those interested in Women's Studies.