Lisa Alther Biography
(1944– ), Kingflicks, Original Sin, Other Women, Kinflicks, Five Minutes in Heaven
American novelist, born in Tennessee, educated at Wellesley College. Alther achieved popular success with her first novel, Kingflicks (1976); based on the events of her life after leaving her native Tennessee to move north, the novel explores the nature of the relationship between mother and daughter. Called back home by the imminent death of her mother, the heroine considers all those influences which have shaped and determined her family relationships. Similar concerns are reflected in Original Sin (1981), in which a group of characters who have left Tennessee for the North are recalled for a funeral; through the collective recollections of their experiences, Alther presents a satirical view of authoritative social institutions. Other Women (1984) explores further the possibilities represented by lesbian relationships, a theme introduced in Kinflicks and further examined in Five Minutes in Heaven (1995) which also deals with mourning and loss. Alther's vision of personal and political relations is generally pessimistic though she combines this dark view with a powerful strain of black humour, particularly in her use of the grotesque.