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THE PANGS OF DESPISED LOVE IN WARTIME FRANCE

The Devil in the Flesh - Raymond Radiguet;A.M. Sheridan-Smith

Originally published in 1923, "The Devil in the Flesh" (in French, "Le Diable au Corps"), is a tender and at times, heartbreaking story told by the narrator, who at 15, entered into an affair with Mme. Marthe Lacombe, a woman several years his senior he had fancied since his father had introduced him to her family several months before her marriage to her fiance, a soldier at the Front.

The narrator is a rather precocious youth, who thinks himself wiser beyond his years. But as the affair proceeds apace with Marthe falling deeper in love with him, their indiscretions make the affair an open secret, creating further complications for them both. There were times that I wanted to wring the narrator's neck, because he didn't always respect Marthe. But for those of us who have known how thrilling and intoxicating Love can be, making us do some rather irresponsible things, this is a story that will have special resonance. The reader cannot help but be moved by its eloquence and its subtle evocation of wartime France in 1917 and 1918.