A series of brilliantly written descriptions of the Forest of Ardennes, the winter of the ""phony war"" and of what it is like to be a soldier in a blockhouse there, waiting for a war one does not really expect to come. Since there is very little action or dialogue, and that little is sifted through the achingly acute, but will-less, consciousness of Grange, the protagonist, this book is often exasperating. An intense awareness without past, future or personalities (even the girl- the love interest- is shadowy) is difficult to endure unremittingly. Yet this is probably an accurate report of an historical state of mind, and the lack of physical action frequently becomes unimportant compared to the flow and the radiance of the language. Gracq is a Goncourt prize winner.