Tag Archives: Jean-Paul Sartre

A review of Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Nausea’

“Existence is not something which allows itself to be thought of from a distance; it has to invade you suddenly, pounce upon you, weigh heavily on your heart like a huge motionless animal – or else there is nothing left at all.”
(John-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

I would love to try to review this book but quite frankly I have no idea what the hell was going on in it. It took me about 2 weeks to get through the 250 pages. Written by a famous French author and dealing with big long fancy things such as ‘existentialism‘ I thought I would come out the other end of this book a higher being. Well I didn’t. For a finish, I found it so boring and just pointless that I only had 2 pages left to finish it, 2 pages!!! and I couldn’t manage to struggle through and get it over with. I finished it the following night not that it really made any difference.

On a more serious note after my little rant, I was genuinely really looking forward to reading this as most classics have earned the title for a reason. The book is written from the point of view of a young troubled author; Antoine Roquentin who is off his head, to put it lightly. The first half of the book wasn’t too bad actually and there were brief moments of really nice description and clever insights. The following are some quotes I picked out that I liked;

Monsieur, it seems to me that you could define adventure as an event which is out of the ordinary without being necessarily extraordinary”

I thought of committing suicide. What held me back was the idea that nobody, absolutely nobody would be moved by my death, that I would be even more alone in death than in life”

“Life has a meaning if you choose to give it one”

Another comment I have after reading it is that maybe the book might have lost some of its flow when it was translated into English. The names of the characters and the place-names are all in French and perhaps to a French reader it offered a little bit more ease of reading. In terms of a storyline there was none really. He lives in a little town and walks around the place, goes to the library to work on his book and harps on about this girl called Anny, who it turns out is crazy too. Every now and again when his thoughts go into overdrive, he experiences this ‘nausea’. I’m not really sure what it is, to me it sounded like something along the lines of a panic attack.

To sum up… I read to relax and let my imagination wander, I like to look forward to my book when I head to bed. This book annoyed me and quite frankly some parts of it were very disturbing, like really really disturbing. While I’m glad I can say I read it I would never read it again and I definitely wouldn’t be recommending it.

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Filed under Classics