THE INNER ROOM by Vera Randal


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A lacerating look at some of the private hells in the inner room (figurative as well) of a private mental hospital where, through affiliated sketches, the rounds are made of five young women institutionalized there. In the blurred, but sometimes painfully clear, exposures, present and past merge and diverge. There's Katherine Barr whose depression followed the birth of a second child; Carol Porter and her letters to the mother she hates; Alice Blaine now forced to remember how her husband died; Binnie Parrington, an unwanted child who grew up to have an illegitimate baby; Janet Haggerty, who is ready to go home but reluctant to leave Binnie. The literary reality None of this is very fully developed and some of it smacks of the couch confidence. The appeal, a wholly feminine one, ranges all the way from sympathy to shock and won't last much longer than the fifty minute reading hour.

Publisher: Knopf