By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated June 16, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

For everyone who thought Josephine Hart’s Damage was the ultimate in psychotic love stories, Sa Femme: Or the Other Woman will be a revelation. It is, to start, only 119 pages long — and they’re small pages at that. Most paragraphs are only a few sentences. And yet a doctor manages in that small space to meet a construction foreman, break up with her boyfriend, begin an affair with that foreman (who is married and the father of two), go shopping, begin to hoard relics from their affair in her desk drawer, find out that the foreman isn’t, after all, married or a parent, normalize their relationship, and become obsessed in turn with a new patient. Each event is the literary equivalent of a jewel on a page: nouns instead of facets, adjectives in place of color. One can only assume that such sparseness is supposed to be viscerally powerful, and at times it is, but it is also overwhelming; Emmanuéle Bernheim’s Sa Femme is so stylized, it’s barely a book. One can only wonder what can possibly come next: a work in which each chapter is but a single word? C