Left Bank Right Bank

by Joseph Barry.Norton, $3.00.
Mr. Barry’s book (which grew out of articles written for the New York Times Magazine) might loosely be described as “The Intelligent American’s Guide to Paris and the French.” The author takes you into the flea market, the grandes maisons de couture, the post-war American Colony. He briefs you on the state of politics and the state of prostitution. He explains the strength of the Communists and the subtle tyranny of the Concierges. He makes you hep to Epiphanism and Lettrism; the new French painters; the boîtes à la mode with the intelligentsia. There is a quick course on Sartre, the adventurous pedagogue. There are visits to the masters—Colette, Matisse, Picasso, Le Corbusier. Mr. Barry, in short, covers a lot of territory, with the brisk knowingness of a competent journalist.