``A man will come and a child will go out,'' says a gypsy girl to Josie some time after she first enters her husband's house, having returned to Ireland from America to marry him. The man who comes in is an IRA terrorist on the run from the police who invades Josie's house when she is living there alone as an old woman. The child had been lost to an abortion early in Josie's marriage, at a time when she could not cope with her uncouth husband and a life she had chosen in desperation. The two stories are deftly woven together by the remarkable O'Brien ( Time and Tide , LJ 4/1/92), who manages to sum up a century of Irish sorrow in this taut, lyrical novel, filled with scenes so vividly rendered they seem captured in a flash of lightning. Not the least of O'Brien's accomplishments is her ability to present both sides of the Irish problem in all their complexity without settling heavily on either side. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/94.-- Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''