Books: Gallic Snake Pit

HEAD AGAINST THE WALL (255 pp.)—Hervé Bazin—Prentice-Hall ($3.95).

The rakehell son is an old favorite of French fiction, and so is the mean-spirited bourgeois father who fails to understand him. From this familiar combination, a truculent French novelist named Hervé Bazin has written a fresh if uneven novel.

Arthur Gérane had vexed Judge Gßrane for years. He had run away from college, wasted his money, refused to go to work. It was the last straw when Arthur rifled his father's desk—and then rammed the family car into a tree in making his getaway. Judge...

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