France: Third Person Singular

Roaring down the Paris-Strasbourg highway two weeks ago, a 22-ton truck overturned and boxloads of books covered in blue imitation leather were scattered all over the road. Despite that slipup, the secret of the book was kept intact. Last week, when it was released well ahead of schedule, and without the usual publicity buildup, all France was surprised. One critic compared its impact to that of "a 75-ton meteorite," which, as it happens, is just about the weight of the 250,000-copy first edition of Memoirs of Hope: The Renewal, the first of...

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