Books: Floating Picnic

THE SAILOR FROM GIBRALTAR by Marguerite Duras. 318 pages. Grove. $5.95.

Since the decline of literary existentialism, French fiction has been dominated by four authors—Robbe-Grillet, Sarraute, Butor and Duras—who write the anti-roman, the non-novel in which characters are impersonal, time floats out the window, and action is as fragmented as a cracked kaleidoscope. The casual reader may well have trouble telling one anti-novelist from another, but in the case of Marguerite Duras, the problem is simple: she is the only natural writer. The others construct fiction to demonstrate a pet theory. She...

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