Books: Fools on the Brink

THE MIRACULOUS BARBER (248 pp.) —Marcel Aymé — Harper ($3).

It is Paris in the uneasy spring of 1936. Sitdowns close the factories, riots clog the streets, a Popular Front cabinet maneuvers for its life. To a Jules Remains or a Jean Paul Sartre this is the ideal setting for a lugubrious social novel. But not to Marcel Aymé. As a satirist by profession —and currently the best in France—Aymé gives 1936 France his usual deft, dry treatment.

Like The Barkeep of Blémont (TIME, May 15), Aymé's sardonic jab at the Resistance movement, The Miraculous Barber insists that even in times of historical...

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