Miner's clean, easy-gaited narration is inviting, but her impatience to steamroll through the complexities of I.R.A. politics--to make parallels with the feminist movement, with the histories of expatriated Irish women--results in hurried absurdities of plot which hamstring her serious intent almost from the start. Liz, California-raised daughter of Irish-born Polly, arrives in London to visit Polly's sister Gerry and cousin Beth before journeying to Ireland to ""reclaim"" herself. But Liz is drawn to kind, cheerful Gerry (so different from uptight, close-minded Polly); and she's fascinated by Beth, who works for the Underground Provo I.R.A. So she lingers in London, gets a job on that ""voice of imperialism,"" the BBC Listener, involves herself in the local feminist scene, writes for their paper. . . and engages in running debates about political priorities with Beth: won't women still be oppressed when the battle for Ireland is won? There is an open split, however, when the cousins take lovers. Liz has her first, exhilarating lesbian relationship with feminist Gwen. Beth, whose boyfriend Bruce has gone underground, falls in love with physicist Larry, Liz's newly arrived brother--an enthusiastic I.R.A. convert who blows off his right hand with his own bungled bomb and is shipped home to Polly. And soon the mayhem is mounting, along with the family tensions. (Is Beth's supposedly dead father really alive?) So, after another Whitehall I.R.A. bomb leaves Gerry dead and Beth mangled, Liz vows to write the tale of Gerry and Polly and two young ""blood sisters."" A challenging subject--but in spite of some incidental revelations about mother-daughter relationships and a convincing London ambience, it's fatally overloaded with scattershot political analyses, dim men, and wild implausibilities.