Hailed by Jean Cocteau as a "masterpiece," and by the Guardian as "Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero, avant la lettre," this taut tale written by a teenager in the form of a frank "confession" is a gem of early twentieth century romanticism. Long unavailable in the U.S., it is here presented in a sparkling new translation.
Set in Paris during the First World War, it tells the story of Francois, the 16-year-old narrator, who falls in love with Marthe, an older, married woman whose husband is off fighting at the front. What seems to begin as a charming tale of puppy love quickly darkens, and they launch into a steamy affair. In the tense environment of the wartime city, their love takes on a desperation transcending their youthfulness.
And as the badly-kept secret of their relationship unfolds, scandal descends, leading the story to a final, startling conclusion-and causing the book itself to become a scandal when it was first published in 1923, just before the author's death at the age of 20.