Books: Counterfeit Love

THE ILLUSIONIST (250 pp.)—Françoise Mallet—Farrar, Straus & Young ($3).

Some of the most striking French fiction comes from precocious teenagers writing about teenagers. In Devil in the Flesh, 17-year-old Raymond Radiguet showed a boy drawn into a love affair with an older married woman and swamped by the first rush of passion. In Awakening, Jean-Baptiste Rossi, 16, told a startling but sensitive story of a love affair between a youngster and a Roman Catholic nun. In The Illusionist (written three years ago) 22-year-old Françoise Mallet, a Parisian housewife and mother, tells perhaps...

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