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A London therapist gets a lesson in pain and empathy in Brownrigg's sparkling latest (after Morality Tale). It's 1998, and Mira Braverman's home office (dubbed "the delivery room" by her husband) overfloweth with troubled types. There's "the Bigot," Howard, a divorced diplomat who needles Mira about her Serbian heritage; "the American," Jess, a single female journalist who longs for a baby; "the Aristocrat," Caroline, who is fighting a battle with infertility; and "the Mourning Madonna," Kate, who lost a daughter in utero. Only when Mira's husband, Peter, is diagnosed with terminal lymphoma is Mira able to empathize with her patients, particularly as Peter's health declines. In many ways, this novel is also about parenting-those who long to be mothers and can't, and those who are ambivalent about the responsibilities. Because so much of the novel revolves around sessions, the narrative can become claustrophobic, but patient readers will appreciate Brownrigg's detailed portrayals of the therapist and client dynamic, and the prose is tack sharp and effortlessly lyrical. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.