This intensely personal book grew out of Joan Kufrin's admiration for the nine women she chose to interview. All are connected with the arts.
Included are dancer Maria Tallchief; flutist Eugenia Zukerman; poet laureate for Illinois Gwendolyn Brooks; opera singer Roberta Peters; novelist, critic, essayist Mary McCarthy; conductor of the Opera Company of Boston Sarah Caldwell; actress Julie Harris; painter Alice Neel; and composer Mary Lou Williams, who passed on last May.
The interviews center on each artist's work. Biographical details are shared only if they are relevant to the individual's career. This approach cuts down on extraneous details and keeps the reader's attention on the artist's challenges, goals, and insights. But it can also be a drawback if one is unfamiliar with the life of a particular individual. Seven of the nine have raised families, and they talk about motherhood and its impact on their careers.
Although each woman's comments are filtered through the admiring Mrs. Kufrin, their individual styles are discernible - from the earthiness of Alice Neel to the radiance of Gwendolyn Brooks. These nine women have worked hard for their achievements and have come through the rough spots still loving life. Their insights are well worth noting.