This is a story of young love, set in war-time France, poetic, passionately written, with much of beauty -- and yet with an aura of unreality, which perhaps is intentional, in keeping with the mood of the lovers. For to young Jean, an 18- year old schoolboy, hoping eventually to become an architect inspite of poverty, and to Marie, staidly brought up by a mother who runs a girls' school, their love can be touched by nothing sordid or unhappy. Blows sufficient to dash less hardy spirits leave them untouched in the glory of their passionate dream. Innocent, unworldly, confident that fate will smile on them, they head into disaster. Marie's parents, finding she is pregnant, do their evil best to separate the lovers; a bomb, dropped from an American plane on Paris, prevents Jean from learning what his Marie is suffering -- and when he leaves the hospital to go to her, he is too late. An odd blend of sophistication, of Gallic outspokenness, with a simplicity, almost a naivete, makes this unique in its field. Beautifully translated by Eithne Wilkins, the English text loses nothing of the grace of language. Thinly plotted, there is an inevitable sense of fading off from the central theme, a heightening of the unreality of the idyll with its tragic end.