Books: The Whole Huroosh

ST. MALACHY'S COURT (170 pp)—Olivia Robertson—Odyssey Press ($2).

Olivia Robertson is a well-bred young Irishwoman who has done social work in an improved Dublin slum. Like many other social workers who make copy of their experiences, Author Robertson sometimes commits to print anecdotes and adventures that probably sounded fine at the time but, in type, only seem strained and amateurish, like a genteel effort to make a smutty-faced child blow its nose. The savor of the subject, however, often rises above her polite intentions.

The caretaker of St. Malachy's Court wasn't sure how to explain the fact that his flats teemed with...

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