A condensate of experience which achieves its economical/elliptical effects with a skillful, unchronological montage of memories, dreams, encounters loosely tacked together and drifting easily from past to present. An anonymous woman, forty-odd, drowns her infant which had been born malformed (scars where the ears might have been)--""a judgment."" Burrowing backwards to a childhood in a Home and the abrupt terminus of a few weekends with a foster aunt and uncle; fifteen years of working as an assistant in a canteen; the taking of a lodger, a widower, both maintaining their isolation and independence except for the contacts which led to the experience with which the book begins. Joyless as all this inevitably is, Mrs. Lawrence is a sufficiently good writer to make it both arresting and affecting. Fallen sparrows plucked bare.