"The Wall and other short stories" is a triumph in literature. Each story explores the depths of human thought and reason through an existential point of view. Each story can be interpreted different by all readers, therefore making this a great book for discussion.
"The Wall" is the first story presented. It consumes the reader because of its brilliant writing style. The story is narrated by a man named Pablo Ibbieta, who is in a jail cell with 2 others awaiting execution the following morning. Every event that transpires that particular night is analyzed almost too thoroughly thus leaving the reader in a trance. I wont get into it too deeply, but believe me, this story is worth reading...i guarentee it will have to be read again. After finishing the story, I felt as though nothing mattered. Who cares if the dishes were not washed, who cares if I would be late for work. Believe me, this story will have a profound impact on the way you think. Don't be surprised if you have a new appreciation for life. This story enlightens the mind.
Another great story from this book is called "Erostratus". Erostratus was a character who wanted to be famous, so he burned down the temple of Ephesus, which was one of the 7 wonders of the world. This is the central symbol of the story, the quest for glory. It also brings up an interesting point when the narrator asks one of his colleagues "Who built Ephesus?" and the colleauge did not know, he only knew who burned it. "Erostratus" in short is one mans decent into madness because of his quest to be remembered. The ending of "Erostratus" is filled with suspense and makes your heart beat in fear. It serves as a grim reminder that there are people of this type, and we should be prepared at any time for them to strike.
There are also 3 other stories, that being "The Room", "Intimacy", and "The Childhood of a Leader", which also draw the reader inside the workings of the mind through an existential window (ie: we are all here by accident, man is condemned to choose).
In short, these stories are all perfect, and leave the reader with a feeling of enlightment. Sartre is an extremely intelligent and clever writer. This is evident in these short stories. So turn off the television, buy this book, and start questioning your existence, you owe it to yourself. Besides, they are short stories, so you will be able to get through at least one a day...that isnt much to ask considering the benefits you will reap by reading them.