Books: New Member

Each year a group of French literary notables and near-notables meets for lunch at the Restaurant Drouant in Paris, and votes for the winner of the Goncourt Prize. They are the members of the Goncourt Academy, and their sole function is that of awarding 5,000 francs to the author of "the year's best work of fiction." There are supposed to be ten members at the luncheon, but the venerable revolutionary writer, Lucien Descaves, refuses to attend meetings with Royalist Leon Daudet, always mails in his vote. After lunch, the Academy's youngest member announces...

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