THE ILLUSIONIST by Francoise Mallet


Email this review


From the French, a novel which describes with deliberate precision and occasional cruelty a sensuous, sapphic love affair between Helene, a provincial girl of fifteen, and the Russian-born Tamara, her father's mistress. For to Helene, impressionable, awkward, apathetic, the worldly (worn too) Tamara offers a widening vista of moral distortion and personal disillusion, and while her mocking, moody charms have their fascination- they also demand a flagellant submission. And as the relationship becomes increasingly passionate and perverse, Helene's jealousy is flecked by other men as well as the image of a dead girl she cannot replace, and it is Tamara's decision to marry Helene's father which completes the circle of betrayal ...A perspective on passion which is above conventional morality but is not immune to the violation of integrity, this- in its candor and disabused realism will attract a certain audience with shockproof sensibilities. Others may go along just for the ride.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1952
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Young