Picks and Pans Review: A Fanatic Heart

updated 03/04/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/04/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Edna O'Brien

The risk of repetition that is inherent in any anthology of an author's work holds no terrors for readers of the graceful, witty Edna O'Brien. Few writers reiterate a theme so deliberately and to such effect. Most of her stories are about women seeking love, women losing love, women suspended in mid-love. Several tales, notably "The Love Object" and "Baby Blue," even tell an almost identical tale of women abandoned by men. But to assume that O'Brien is a woman's writer is to limit her in the way that describing her as an Irish writer limits her. In prose so spare and true that it reads like a personal journal, she explores the limitless variety of human fallibility, examining the external unions and the internal sunderings that pass as relationships between men and women. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, $17.95)

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