And what about the novel, Monsieur Guibal? Are you getting on with it?"" Unfortunately not--although middle-aged, ""ubiquitous"" and likable Robert Guibal has made a good deal of money as a popular lyricist, having abandoned the more demanding form years ago. Also, unfortunately, he's not getting on too well with his wife, Catherine, who's really very self-contained about his mistress Reine. And still more unfortunately, the next worst thing to a novel about writing a novel is a novel about not writing a novel. It puts Mme. Mallet-Joris, often very charming, at a disadvantage. So dally, if you will, along with Robert who is handed the idea for his book (a romantic notion about a treasure--perhaps that of Gilles de Rais--hidden in a chateau museum in the provinces). He is helped along by a gaunt eccentric spinster with this project which never quite gets on paper--even though it does much to reconcile Robert and Catherine, neither as cavalierly indifferent to each other as one might have assumed. This playful, busy work takes place chiefly in brief interchanges here and there with still briefer chapter headings from ""The Ideal Writer"" to ""That Word 'End'."" A good place for anyone to stop.