At The Existentialist Café

At The Existentialist Café

Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails

Summary

Shortlisted for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize

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

Reviews

  • 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 Café. 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

About the author

Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell had a wandering childhood, growing up on the "hippie trail" through Asia and in Australia. She studied philosophy at the University of Essex, and worked for many years as a curator of early printed books at the Wellcome Library, London, before becoming a full-time writer. Her books include How to Live: a life of Montaigne, which won the Duff Cooper Prize and the US National Book Critics Circle Prize, and At the Existentialist Café, one of the New York Times's Ten Best Books of 2016. She was also among the winners of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Literature Prize. She still has a tendency to wander, but is mostly to be found either in London or in Italy with her wife and their family of dogs and chickens.
www.sarahbakewell.com
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