At the Existentialist Cafe
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At the Existentialist Cafe : Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails

4.21 (1,356 ratings on Goodreads)
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Description

Paris, near the turn of 1932-3. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking..."It's not often that you miss your bus stop because you're so engrossed in reading a book about existentialism, but I did exactly that...The story of Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger et al is strange, fun and compelling reading. If it doesn't win awards, I will eat my copy". (Independent on Sunday). "Bakewell shows how fascinating were some of the existentialists' ideas and how fascinating, often frightful, were their lives. Vivid, humorous anecdotes are interwoven with a lucid and unpatronising exposition of their complex philosophy...Tender, incisive and fair". (Daily Telegraph). "Quirky, funny, clear and passionate...Few writers are as good as Bakewell at explaining complicated ideas in a way that makes them easy to understand". (Mail on Sunday).show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 127 x 198 x 27mm | 356g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099554887
  • 9780099554882
  • 104

Review quote

"It's not often that you miss your bus stop because you're so engrossed in reading a book about existentialism, but I did exactly that while immersed in Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe. The story of Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger et al is strange, fun and compelling reading. If it doesn't win awards, I will eat my proof copy" -- Katy Guest The Independent on Sunday "My book of the year is Sarah Bakewell's At The Existentialist Cafe, a marvellously rich and evocative journey through one of the most powerful philosophical movements of the twentieth century... This graceful book speaks to our parochial and inward-looking age." -- Sudhir Hazareesingh Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year "A wonderfully readable combination of biography, philosophy, history, cultural analysis and personal reflection." -- John Walsh Independent "At the Existentialist Cafe takes us back to...when philosophers and philosophy itself were sexy, glamorous, outrageous; when sensuality and erudition were entwined... [Bakewell] shows how fascinating were some of the existentialists' ideas and how fascinating, often frightful, were their lives. Vivid, humorous anecdotes are interwoven with a lucid and unpatronising exposition of their complex philosophy... Tender, incisive and fair." -- Jane O'Grady Daily Telegraph "Quirky, funny, clear and passionate...Few writers are as good as Bakewell at explaining complicated ideas in a way that makes them easy to understand." -- Craig Brown Mail on Sundayshow more

About Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell was a teenage existentialist, having been swept off her feet by reading Sartre's Nausea, aged 16. She is the author of three biographies, including the bestselling How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, which won the Duff Cooper Prize for Non-Fiction and the National Books Critics Circle Award for Biography in the US, and was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award.show more

Review Text

"At the Existentialist Café takes us back to…when philosophers and philosophy itself were sexy, glamorous, outrageous; when sensuality and erudition were entwined… [Bakewell] shows how fascinating were some of the existentialists’ ideas and how fascinating, often frightful, were their lives. Vivid, humorous anecdotes are interwoven with a lucid and unpatronising exposition of their complex philosophy… Tender, incisive and fair."show more
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