The Desert of Love traces the psychological and physical torments of a father and son and the woman with whom they both fall in love. For Dr. Courrèges, Maria Cross is an opportunity to escape the mundane and experience a life of passion; for his son Raymond, possessing Maria is the final stage of his rite of passage into manhood. Maria herself is one of Mauriac’s most mesmerizing protagonists—mistress to an influential Bordeaux businessman, a mother grieving the death of her only son, and a woman of immense passion and power. Through these three characters, Mauriac crafts a captivating account of human desire, crowned with a subtly brilliant conclusion.
In 1926, The Desert of Love was named winner of the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française.