Books: Voyage of Beautiful People

THE PAINTED LADY by Françoise Sagan

Translated by Lee Fahnestock; E.P. Button; 468 pages; $15.95

It was 29 years ago that Bonjour Tristesse, a short novel by an 18-year-old schoolgirl, Françoise Sagan, sold a record-breaking 1.5 million copies in France. Translations soon topped bestseller lists throughout Europe and in the U.S. A tale of worldly intrigue and adolescent sex, the book caught the public fancy as much for the author's precocious sophistication as for her fine-grained, sensuous prose style. Since then, literary fashions, linguistic games and critical theories have reduced much of French fiction...

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