By Bernard MacLaverty

I must like short, spare novels about love affairs, because another of my favorites is Cal, by another Irish writer, Bernard MacLaverty. A reluctant IRA soldier, Cal, is the getaway driver during the killing of a Protestant policeman. Cal is later attracted to a librarian at his local library, at first not realizing she's the policeman's widow. He seeks her out despite learning that she is, in fact, the dead man's wife, and he becomes too emotionally involved to remove himself from her life. We know the situation, but the widow does not, a brilliant device that ratchets up the tension and delivers a clever twist on the time-honored story of Romeo and Juliet.


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