Books: The View from Afar

AS IT Is ON EARTH (111 pp.)—Jules Remains—Macmillan ($4).

In the 27 novels that comprise Jules Romains's Men of Good Will, characters wander across the face of history, vaguely searching for their meaning. When the final volume was published, it was clear that for all his effort, despite brilliant vignettes and telling insights, Romains had achieved only a grandeur of detail, a vivid anatomical drawing of French society. Now, in a slim volume that might also be a coda-like summary, Romains abandons the study of history close-up and attempts a view from afar.

Posing as "an alien curiosity" from outer space, Romains reports...

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