DIARY IN DUO by Flora & Benoite Groult


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Even at its best, the diary is a cumbersome literary form. The breaks from entry to entry are disturbing, and unnatural. Meaningful as the sun-up/sun-down division is to mankind, chapter organization makes a great deal more sense in literature. What is true for the diary is doubly true for diary in duo. Withal, this intermingling of two personal day to day records, spanning the war years in France, written by Flora who is fifteen when it all starts, and Benoite who is nineteen, manages to emerge successfully as a compelling portrait of Benoite's resuscitation-- from procrastinating, moribund intellectual with a cerebral hymen to sexual awakening and ultimate growth. Flora's story is something else again. She just fails to develop as her sister does. The ebullient, extroverted child she was, the changes which overcome her as she watches resentfully her sister's successful merger with a man, the fusty, shallow young woman she becomes..none of it makes much sense. The diary would have been better as a solo. When Benoite is good she is very, very good. And when she is describing the collective madness which overtook France during the liberation, she is brilliant.

Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts