Books: Sex & Salvation

Picking the winners before the lavish year-end supply of French literary prizes are passed around is a favorite occupation for French critics. Picking the awards apart after they are made is considered just as much fun. These days the critics were still shredding last year's choices and shedding a significant light on the current French literary scene. Items:

PRIX FÉMINA. Author Franchise Mallet-Joris deserved a prize, said the critics, but not for her prizewinning book, L'Em-pire Céleste, which they generally dismissed as "good, meaty, lending-library stuff." The story of a poor cafe pianist who realizes his mediocrity after friends read his diary,...

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