Thursday, 24 January 2013

Jean-Paul Sartre | Nausea

I'm glad I ignored the fore-warnings and read this book, as it is beautifully written and really made me stop and consider. Not to mention the strange couple of moments where you and the main character Monsieur Roquentin share the exact same thought at the very same moment. Anyway, I decided to have a stab at reviewing it, partly so I can clarify my own thoughts.

Nausea is a striking book written from the point of view of one distressed Frenchman (M. Roquentin). His time is spent writing a history book on the interesting character Monsieur de Rollebon, dining in quirky cafes and discussing the sense of adventure with his friend, the Humanist, the Autodidact, who eventually turns out to possibly be a paedophile also. Throughout the book, a gripping sense of the direness of existence takes hold of Roquentin and how things in the past no longer exist. This leads him to the shocking revelation of M. de Rollebon's second death and his abandoning of his writing.

This is a very eventful and surprising novel involving a major but fleeting form of self-harm among other things. The best way to understand this book is to read it as it has a very complex story line. I finished this book little under a week ago and am already finding it near impossible to write about (I won't make the same mistake next time). It is the source of the famous line 'I think therefore I am' which before the book made no sense. In context I now understand it as close to fully a 14-year-old could. In fact, this featured in my favourite chapter during which I paused for thought at something I'd read many a time.

Over the sense of amazement that someone could've actually written 'this stuff', the niggling question of 'where exactly was his income coming from?' kept on at me! That would be my only problem with the book, what with his smoking and eating-out habit (I suppose he did live in a hotel) but then again that's just me.

If you are up for a reading challenge or even if you aren't, you should definitely read this just to experience the unique collection of thoughts that is Nausea. If I were to sum it up in one word, it'd be 'wanderlust', meaning: a desire to travel, to understand one's very existence. I give this book a very high 4/5.

No comments:

Post a Comment