This is Mauriac's first novel, and its appearance in English completes the collected presentation of his works here. Mauriac is the elder statesman of French literature and the Nobel prize-winner, and this small roman d'analyse, traditional in its concerns (he is the most profoundly Christian and Catholic of French writers), is also contemplative in its approach. Thus in a sense it is the seedbed for many of his later works. It deals- very briefly-with Jean Paul, a rather miserable, romantic young man, during some months of self-imposed isolation and loneliness, disaffection from his friends (in particular Jerome, a ""skilled Hunter of Souls"" and his proletariat cause) and the girl Marthe he is to marry. He chafes at his destiny- at Marthe whom he does not love ""but in whose love he was wrapped"", at his little faith and less feeling, until finally he works his way through to acceptance and response... The audience may be limited to Mauriac's devotees.