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March 06, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

LOVERS' CHOICE by Becky Birtha (Seal Press: $10.95; 152 pp.). Although many of Birtha's stories involve lesbians dealing with questions of commitment, her most effective writing probes the complex feelings African American women share with their female relatives. In "Baby Town," a little girl accompanies her mother, aunt and sister to a cemetery and experiences the first chilling intimations of her own mortality; "Johnnieruth" captures the impatience of an adolescent girl eager to explore the possibilities that lie beyond the familiar blocks where her mother insists she remain.

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