Books: Cogs & Machines

THE TWENTY-FIFTH HOUR (404 pp.)—C. Virgil Gheorghiu, translated by Rita Eldon—Knopf ($3.50).

On a mild evening in Paris last spring, the gaily lighted Tuileries Gardens were the scene of a lively kermesse. It was a county fair, Paris style, with chorus girls prancing on an open-air platform while, at garishly decorated stands, French stage and screen stars whooped it up for French products. In all the buzzing, crowded area there was but one solemn touch. A long, patient line had formed before a plain board platform. On it sat a slender, spectacled novelist rapidly autographing stacks of his latest book. They were...