Books: In Limbo with Love's Exiles

THE HIGH ROAD by Edna O'Brien; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 214 pages; $18.95

A woman is shaken out of sleep in an unfamiliar room, roused by a noise nearby that seems to contain a threat aimed at her: "I thought I heard my name -- Anna, Anna -- being uttered with malice." But that is impossible. As she gropes toward consciousness, Anna remembers that no one in this place could know her, that she only arrived the previous evening and that, though it is still dark, the dawn will come up on Easter Sunday.

This brief scene, poised between dream and...

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