Books: Situation Tragedy

THE PLANETARIUM (296 pp.)—Nathalie Sarraute—Braziller ($4).

Although France's "New Realists'' form one of the few distinct literary schools to appear since World War II. the movement is neither wholly new nor wholly realistic.

In its preoccupation with the subsoil of the mind, it owes much to Joyce and Proust, and in its meticulous focusing on reality it often achieves unreal effects—just as a section of skin under a microscope does not look like skin but like a lunar landscape. Despite frequent stretches of dullness, the New Realist writers are sometimes fascinating because they have moved away from the facile psychology and sociology...

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