Books: Identifiable as Prose

THE BENEFACTOR by Susan Sontag. 274 pages. Farrar, Straus. $4.50.

Of what capital city in Europe is a beheaded man the patron saint? It is by such recondite clues that the reader comes to understand that the scene of Susan Sontag's The Benefactor is, in fact, Paris. The publishers confirm this on the book jacket. "Identifiable as Paris" is the tentative concession, as if Farrar, Straus had only reached a majority decision on the issue.

The book proposes even stiffer puzzles. The hero is Hippolyte; why does he move about and mutter to himself like...

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