Books: Meditations on Motherhood Men and Angels

by Mary Gordon; Random House; 239 pages; $16.95

Many subjects, in life and in art, do not automatically arouse emotions of terror or pity. High on any such list must be the spectacle of people complaining about how impossible it is to get good help nowadays. Yet that is the fundamental problem faced by the heroine of Mary Gordon's third novel. Anne Foster, 38, has just about everything, including a Harvard Ph.D. in art history and what one of her many adoring friends calls "the only decent marriage in America." Her bright and handsome husband Michael, a professor at a Massachusetts college, is due to spend an academic year...

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