Sagan's talent to amuse has run thin in this awkward hodgepodge that combines elements of bedroom farce with some heavy-handed social commentary. In June, 1940, four Parisian sophisticates flee the city one jump ahead of the Nazi onslaught. When their limousine is strafed, their chauffeur killed and their picnic hamper lost, they are truly annoyed. Fortunately, a virile young farmer gives them a lift in his cart, and thus socialite Diane Lessing, gigolo Bruno Delors, diplomat Loic Lhermitte and wealthy dilettante Luc Ader find themselves in the farmhouse of the Henri family, where matriarch Arlette is about to utilize the cynical foursome in ways they never dreamed possible. Within 24 hours, the pampered group is washing dishes, feeding ducks and peeling apples. The harvest is yet to come. There are endless possibilities for romantic entanglements (including some that are comically offbeat), but farce degenerates into foolishness as the author of Salad Days expects us to believe that her shallow socialites are ennobled and enriched by two days among the pigs and chickens. Powell's uneven translation leaves many passages syntactically mangled. Ultimately, the characters' revulsion and contempt is turned into mutual admiration, but this bucolic rapproachement between city and country is too farfetched for credibility. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993 Release date: 06/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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