Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: August 22, 2023
The Fire Within
by Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, translated from the French by Richard Howard
Pierre Drieu la Rochelle might be said to be both the Hemingway and the Fitzgerald of twentieth-century French literature, a battle-scarred veteran of the First World War whose work chronicles the trials and tribulations of a lost generation, a man about town, a heartbreaker with a broken heart, a literary stylist whose work is as tough as it is lyrical and polished. Politically compomised as Drieu came to be by his affiliation with the fascist right and collaboration under Nazi occupation—Drieu committed suicide at the end of the war—his novels remain vivid reflections of a broken spiritual and political world of the interwar years and as works of art, and to this day they are widely read and greatly admired in France.
The Fire Within, which has been successfully adapted to the screen by Louis Malle and more recently Joachim Trier, is the lacerating tale of Alain Leroy, a war veteran and beautiful young man of whom the world is expected but who has taken refuge from the world in drugs. After being institutionalized, Alain emerges to try to put his life together again, but in spite of the attentions of friends and lovers, he struggles to find his way.