Count d’Orgel is handsome, charming, and carefree, a model of cool aristocratic aplomb. His wife, the Countess, is beautiful and pure and loves her husband more than anything in the world. But from the moment the d’Orgels meet and befriend the clever young François de Séryeuse backstage at the circus, all three of these supremely civilized and witty people are caught up in an ever more intricate and seductive dance of deception and self-deception. At Count d’Orgel’s masquerade ball, the real disguises are those of the human heart.
Completed just before Raymond Radiguet’s death at the age of twenty, Count d’Orgel’s Ball is a love story that is as disturbing as it is delicious.
Lovelier than Proust and truer than Balzac….
— Jean Cocteau
Raymond Radiguet’s Count d’Orgel’s Ball is a prototypically French novella: irreducibly classical, ruthlessly analytical, and so thoroughly disabused that it is hard to believe anyone so young could have written it. Never has grace been so curt, or tact so indecent, or psychology so diabolical. And yet, the tragedy of this young author’s death shadows us on each and every page of this unforgivably short novel and reminds us that the word “genius” is not inappropriate.
— André Aciman
Extraordinary assurance of this book…It partakes of the nature of a wager or an acrobatic feat. The achivement is almost perfect.
— André Gide