Books: An Affair of the Heart

THE CHATEAU (401 pp.)—William Maxwell—Knopf ($4.95).

This precise, intelligent and slightly bloodless book is essentially a novel of sensibility on the classic Jamesian theme of American innocence and European experience. Its internal drama—dramatically understated—is a victory and defeat of the heart: the love of an American couple for France and their frustrated yearnings to be loved in return by some French people they get to know.

Harold and Barbara Rhodes are gentle, guileless, upper middle class and upper middlebrow. He is 34, she is 27, and their only sadness is a slightly self-conscious chagrin...

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