By Margot Mifflin
July 10, 1992 at 04:00 AM EDT

Summer Rain

B
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  • Book
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Summer Rain, a short novel by the veteran French writer (The Lover, The War) describes an uneducated immigrant family living in suburban Paris. When the eldest son, a genius, begins learning by osmosis (he stands outside the local schoolhouse to absorb his lessons), incest, death, and family disintegration follow. Duras writes in a silky, unembellished prose, spinning a sticky web of claustrophobic relationships. Although her thesis-that book learning is unnatural and destructive — is something the well-educated French can afford to ponder, it seems elitist in the U.S., where higher learning is often not an option. B

Summer Rain

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