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'Novels in Three Lines'

Long-ago Paris proves satisfyingly gruesome.


Today's lurid tabloid journalism has nothing on these newly collected short news items, originally published anonymously in the French daily Le Matin in 1906. The man behind them was one Félix Fénéon, part-time anarchist, and they reveal a delight in the fateful cruelties of life: Random shootings, premeditated suicides, and awful robberies were his main fixations. It's no insult to our own taste for the sensational when we admit to finding Paris the city more fascinating than Paris the woman.

Novels in Three Lines
By Félix Fénéon, translated by Luc Sante; New York Review Books; $14


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