Drawing on this film and others by Truffaut, Robert Stam provides the first in-depth examination of the multifaceted relationship between Truffaut and Roché. In the process, he provides a unique lens through which to understand how adaptation works from history to novel, and ultimately to film and how each form of expression is inflected by the period in which it is created. Truffaut's adaptation of Roché's work, Stam suggests, demonstrates how reworkings can be much more than simply copies of their originals; rather, they can become an immensely creative enterprise a form of writing in itself.
The book also moves beyond Truffaut's film and the ménage à trois involving Roché, Hessel, and Grund to explore the intertwined lives and work of other famous artists and intellectuals, including Marcel Duchamp, Walter Benjamin, and Charlotte Wolff. Tracing the tangled webs that linked these individuals' lives, Stam opens the door to an erotic/writerly territory where the complex interplay of various artistic sensibilities all mulling over the same nucleus of feelings and events vividly comes alive.