May 22, 2000 12:00 PM

by Diane Johnson

Book of the week

Stolen property, lost innocence, Parisian culture clashes, adultery and murder-such is the bewitching brew of Johnson’s latest funny and disarming social comedy.

Tim Nolinger, an American journalist (who writes for both a conservative newsmagazine and a liberal monthly) is engaged to pert Anne-Sophie, daughter of a celebrated novelist. Though Anne-Sophie’s charms are considerable, Tim is not utterly certain she’s the right girl for him. He becomes even less certain when he meets Clara Holly, a beautiful expatriate former actress married to famed director Serge Cray. In Le Mariage as in her previous charmer Le Divorce, Johnson manages to combine Alison Lurie’s finely tuned sense of irony and satire with Jane Austen’s keen eye for courtship rituals and social nuance. (Dutton, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Just say “I do”

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