SILKEN EYES by FranÇoise Sagan
Kirkus Star


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Bonjour, tristesse and lonelinesse and suicide and wheat stalks gently waving: 28 short short stories of despair and worldly-wise epiphany among the jaded well-to-do. A French bestseller, and no wonder. The Sagan touch--lightly, tartly heavyhearted--hasn't time to press down uncomfortably as these spare smiles and sighs tango by. More sighs than smiles, for romance is in ashes, and death is in the air: a dying man of many mistresses holds his wife's hand at the end; a horsewoman suffering from The Man That Got Away has ""A Stylish Death"" at the dawn gallop; two mortally ill patients and one unbearably healthy fellow make fastidious suicidal adieux; and a sudden pause in the High Life forces Prudence Delvaux to face the death-wish of ""someone else inside her."" Passion is muffled, atrophied, undercut. The title story's murderously jealous husband calms down. A user of gigolos protects herself too well from possible rejection. A wife's discovery that the Other Woman is the Other Man elicits only: ""I'm afraid you were right. There's a pair of salmon-pink shorts in the bedroom I wouldn't be caught dead in."" There are a few all-out failures here (a farcical fishing expedition with ""a Hentingway complex,"" an O. Henry manque), and only one silky concoction that shows no seams (locked in a train loo, a marriage-leery woman of the world changes her tune). But Sagan trimmed to the bone is Sagan at her best, gumdrops instead of all-day suckers, easy to swallow if not to remember.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1977
Publisher: Delacorte