The novel opens in the middle of the Great War, when the narrator is only 15. He starts having an affair with a slightly older woman who is engaged to a soldier fighting in the trenches.
Le Diable au Corps / The Devil in the Flesh was very controversial when it came out because the two lovers use the war to their advantage and hope for it to continue so that they can remain together. Moreover, the novel was said to be autobiographical.
Everything is told from the perspective of a boy, who is very much in love, but too young to control his emotions and to understand their shifts. But circumstances force him to mature. This novel is therefore primarily a coming-of-age one.
I found Radiguet's writing very touching and insightful in its matter-of-factness. The development of a passionate relationship is recorded with a raw honesty that I always appreciate in writers.