On the eve of their trip to Africa, Laura Maldonada Clapper and her husband, Desmond, sit in a New York City hotel room, drinking scotch-and-sodas and awaiting the arrival of three guests: Clara, Laura's timid daughter from a previous marriage; Carlos, Laura's flamboyant brother; and Peter, a melancholy editor whom Laura hasn't seen for over a year. But what begins as a bon voyage party soon parlays into a bitter, claustrophobic clash of family resentment. From the hotel room to the tiny restaurant to which the five embark, Laura presides over the escalating innuendo and hostility with imperial cruelty, for she is hiding the knowledge that her mother, the family matriarch, has died of a heart attack that morning. Intense and unerringly observed, The Widow's Children is a tour de force from the incomparable Paula Fox. Some age yellowing.