Books: Life Is a Steamroller

THE AGE OF MALAISE (203 pp.]—Docia Maraini—Grove ($3.95).

Adult amazement at the wayward bussing and bedding of today's youth is worldwide. But it expresses itself differently in different regions. In the U.S., a land flowing with milk and sociology, it has induced oleaginous teenage columns. In Europe, where literature is still thought to have a lingering relevance to life, it has resulted in a whole writing genre, as often as not penned by the troubled and troubling young themselves.

France's Françoise Sagan is the most famous example: at 18, she coolly chronicled how a...

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