Fly Away Home is Daria Walker's story, and Daria is a "Piercy protagonist" through and through. A wife and mother whose marriage has raised her out of the laboring class, Daria's sense of self derives solely from her domestic roles. She is a mother, a wife, a housekeeper enamored of her lovely home, a good cook and — almost incidentally — a best-selling cookbook writer with her own TV show.
Despite this semblance of security, Daria, at forty-three, knows there are cracks. She and Ross have no sex life. Her daughters rarely speak. Preferring the aesthetic side of her work to the business side, Daria has no idea of her net worth or annual income. Although she earns more than he does, Ross belittles her work, calling her, with scorn, a writer of "fat books." It is no career. Still, Daria ignores all murmers of trouble in paradise, until her mother dies unexpectedly. This trauma is followed, in short order, by Ross's demand for a divorce, one daughter's "defection to Daddy and his new love," public accusations of complicity in her husband's crimes, and, finally, the burning of her home.
An obsessive list-maker, Daria and her lifestyle careen to a halt when she is confronted with "the facts" of her life, and must examine them. An unconventional feminist, Daria becomes one, nonetheless.
Ross — Daria's near-demonic spouse — is a vaguely drawn and wholly unappealing character. Frequently cited as this novel's weak link, he seems one-dimensional, a "caricature of a man facing a mid-life crisis." It is not clear what has turned this once idealistic, young law student with a social conscience (and loving wife) into a prejudiced, middle-aged crook. Because Daria...
(The entire section is 421 words.)