Books: The Survivor

THE LOST SHORE by Anna Langfus. 254 pages. Pantheon. $4.95.

Novelists are often the worst judges of their own intentions, and Polish-born Anna Langfus is no exception. In The Lost Shore, she explains, she was aiming at a bestseller in the manner of Françoise Sagan. What she achieved was a novel simple and laconic in manner but as anguished as a muffled scream. It won the Prix Goncourt.

In its plot, The Lost Shore is classically Saganesque: a young woman meets an elderly man in Paris, listlessly encourages his shy advances, and goes off to live with him on the Riviera.

But Novelist Langfus'...

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