Books: Have It Out in Heaven

MAUPASSANT: A LION IN THE PATH (430 pp.) — Fronds Sfeegmuller — Random House ($5).

Guy de Maupassant's reputation among literary critics has steadily declined over the past 20 years, but his stories are still read by people who like tart, sharp character sketching, mildly risque situations and ingenious twist endings. Even critics who think his work contrived and superficial will mainly agree that no other writer save Chekhov has so enormously influenced the shape of the modern short story. De Maupassant's own life story, as told in Francis Steegmuller's breezy and readable...

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