In translation from the French by Frances Frenaye, there's a soupcon of Sagan in this precociously decadent debut of an author who matches her heroine's twenty years. In Algiers, through the sleepy, feverish summer weeks, Nadia leads an indifferent, indolent life, until she meets Jedla, a close friend of some four years ago-and her handsome husband, Ali. The confidante of both, she is well aware of Jedla's dispirited frame of mind- after a miscarriage, her jealousy of Ali, and her need for reassurance. But Nadia dallies with the prospect of attracting Ali- as a lover, and refuses the more suitable, available Huseein. Finally, when Ali is away on a trip, she encourages Jedla in her obsession with Ali's infidelity, goes with her to destroy the baby she is now carrying, and is alone to bear the guilt of Jedla's death.... The viciousness to which capriciousness can lead- but can it allure?