By People Staff
June 16, 1980 12:00 PM

by Lillian Hellman

A few years ago Hellman turned a section of her autobiographical book Pentimento into a successful movie called Julia. Maybe will presumably hit the big screen as Sarah, since it is another memoir about a woman even more elusive than Julia. For decades Hellman got little more than an occasional glimpse of Sarah, who seems a fit candidate for a psychiatric hospital. But Hellman spends a lot of time discussing her and, incidentally, has an affair with Sarah’s ex-husband. A lot of names are dropped—Hellman was writing movies for Sam Goldwyn, she says, and dining once a month with gangster Frank Costello—but the feeling builds steadily that this is more fiction than fact, and “Sarah” is nowhere identified. Hellman insists that her facts are fuzzy because she and her lover, mystery writer Dash Hammett, were on the sauce most of the time. The ending seems like a clumsy try for a John Cheever effect. (Little, Brown, $7.95)