Books: Heartbeats in Miniature

LA CHAMADE by Francoise Sagan. 156 pages. Button. $3.95.

Franchise Sagan is a Gallic Maugham who knows instinctively how deep to probe, what not to say, and when to quit. Her swift vignettes, like Maugham's, are the product of a far more complex and searching intelligence than cold type exposes, and her novels are like fragile sand dollars—elegant, delicate designs.

The title refers to the roll of drums by which the inhabitants of a city under siege announce surrender; since it also denotes a feverish heartbeat, it is a handy metaphor for a romantic...

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