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"What did I care? Happiness is selfish!",
This review is from: The Devil in the Flesh (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
'What appears dream to others...seems to me to be as real as cheese to a cat- in spite of the glass that covers it. If the glass breaks, the cat takes advantage, even if it is his master who breaks it and cuts his hand in the process.'
Thus our 16 year old narrator begins to explain his affair with the slightly older Marthe during the Great War. Affianced when she first meets her young lover, Marthe nevertheless goes on to marry Jacques, who spends most of the novel away fighting - conveniently for their romance. As the author observes: 'what the war meant for so many of us very young boys - four years of holiday.'
This short (127 page) novel follows their affair and the immaturity of the writer in dealing with an adult situation. Unlike other reviewers, I failed to particularly engage with the lead characters. The true sadness was in the letters from poor Jacques away at the Front, bewildered at his new wife's lack of interest in him - and the way Marthe heartlessly tears up some of these unread. Amazingly well written by a young man between the ages of 16 and 18 - yet left me untouched.