Books: Pinched Minds

SALAD DAYS by Françoise Sagan

Translated by C.J. Richards

Dutton; 159 pages; $13.95

Pity the genre novelist who embarks on a different course. For more than 25 years, Françoise Sagan has published brief, ironic tales of love lost or betrayed. She is a supremely confident writer, both in her resolute economy of style and in her command of the milieu she describes: the frivolous, overwrought bourgeois society where emotion can be both teased and indulged.

This book, published in France four years ago, has a radically different setting the working-class world of a grim little town outside Lille, and the author has been...

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