Raymond Radiguet’s The Devil in the Flesh is the Same Old Love Story but with a Cruel Narrator

The Devil in the Flesh, Raymond Radiguet

Raymond Radiguet, a French teenager who hung out with Hemingway and Cocteau, wrote The Devil in the Flesh in 1921, and died of typhoid fever at the age of 20. The story is nothing new: the relationship between a slightly older married woman, Marthe (19) and a younger teenage boy (15). But the language is concise and honest. And the unnamed self-centered narrator is hyper-aware of his cruelty when he reflects on the past. The book itself is packaged quite nicely. Beautiful cover, published by the Neversink Library (which is a direct reference to Herman Melville’s White Jacket), the book synopsis reads:

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a friendly green card marriage and bi-racial families

my mom and dad

Take This Man explores friendship, love, family, immigration, and marriage. Originally written in French by Alice Zeniter, the novel focuses on the relationship between a French girl, Alice, (whose father is from Algeria) and her best friend, Mad, who is from Mali but grew up in France. He asks her to marry him to avoid deportation. They have known each other for over a decade and although she is nervous, she says yes because she cannot imagine her life without him. Starting with Mad’s proposal to Alice and then moving backwards, Zeniter delves into Alice’s past and her childhood friendship with Mad.

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