Books: Outdoor Snake Pit

THE SEA WALL (288 pp.) — Marguerite Duras— Pellegrini & Cudahy ($3.50).

Most Frenchmen have a natural distrust of living anywhere except in France, but the poster swayed the schoolteacher and his wife. It showed a colonial couple, elegant in tropic white, taking their ease in a banana grove, while eager natives bustled at tasks around them. "Young people," assured the poster legend, "a fortune awaits you in the Colonies!" Ma and her husband applied for teaching posts in Indo-China and, one day in 1899, sailed to take them.

The Sea Wall, a first novel by French woman Marguerite Duras, is the story...

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