Books: Mythomania

THE OGRE by MICHEL TOURNIER translated by BARBARA BRAY 373 pages. Doubleday. $7.95.

The novel of ideas often suffers a fate similar to that of the goose destined for pâté de foie gras. Both are force-fed; both die sluggishly for the sake of a few rich morsels. Michel Tournier's The Ogre is engorged with ideas, which is one reason why it waddled off with France's 1970 Prix Goncourt. With unanimous praise from the critics ("The most important book to come out in France since Proust," said Janet Planner), the novel became a bestseller. It is not too difficult to see why. Its...

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