April 28, 1997 12:00 PM

by Robert Stone

With this powerful collection of seven short stories, the 59-year-old author of A Flag for Sunrise and Outerbridge Reach exhibits his talent for depicting ordinary people ripped apart by spiritual crisis. In “Miserere,” a middle-aged librarian whose husband and four children drowned while skating on a remote New Jersey lake undertakes a grim penance for her sorrow: She carries an abortion clinic’s illegally dumped fetuses to a Catholic priest to have them blessed.

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