Books: The Importance of Grace

THE WOMAN SAID YES: ENCOUNTERS WITH LIFE AND DEATH

by JESSAMYN WEST

180 pages. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. $7.95.

Albert Camus wrote that suicide is the essential moral question of the 20th century. Author Jessamyn West, 69, has spent a good deal of her life responding to the question.

In her 20s, seriously ill with tuberculosis, she contemplated suicide. Almost 30 years later, at the bedside of her dying sister Carmen, she faced it again in another form. Both encounters are gracefully recorded in these memoirs. The longer and more compelling portion of the book is a testimony to the extraordinary courage, humor and joyful...

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