Customer Reviews


31 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnifique!
When I initially picked this book up, I couldn't wait to put it down again. As a student of philosophy it was required reading and every time I would pick it up I could just about manage to read a page or two and would then have to reconcile it to the pile in the corner, to be attempted again when I could muster the strength to drag myself through the apparently...
Published on 10 May 2002

versus
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Troubled French Writer
"Nausea" is essentially a philosophical novel expounding the writer's "existentialist" worldview. I must admit that after reading this book that I still don't really "get" this philosophy, but I am doing some background reading on the fascinating world of philosophy in general and hopefully I can get my head round it soon. I read "Nausea" at face value , although aware...
Published on 28 Jun 2011 by L. Davidson


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnifique!, 10 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
When I initially picked this book up, I couldn't wait to put it down again. As a student of philosophy it was required reading and every time I would pick it up I could just about manage to read a page or two and would then have to reconcile it to the pile in the corner, to be attempted again when I could muster the strength to drag myself through the apparently relentless waffle. Came the day when I could procrastinate no longer and I found to my utter surprise that when I really submerged myself in the text it utterly came alive. I believe that many may have perhaps missed the beautiful, humorous irony secreted within the pages of this book. It is indeed the tale of the existential struggle of the 'despairing' consciousness; a consciousness desperately seeking certainty in a wholly contingent universe in which existence knows no beginning. There are moments of rare, sublime beauty as Roquentin seeks to define himself purely by self-reflecting - there is no significant 'other' that can give meaning to one's life; the answers - if there are any - are all to be found within. The pathos and tragedy of his relationship with Anny made my heart almost implode. There are moments of incredibly raw, real beauty within this book, along with some wonderfully observed reflections on the human condition. Absolutely not to be missed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through a glass, darkly, 6 May 2012
By 
Andrew Phillips "Andy Phillips" (Colchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I first read this book when I was a student, in the original French. Then, frankly, I thought the protagonist, Roquentin (and by extension the author, Sartre) was a social misfit, a bore and half-mad to boot. The book depressed me: it was de-stabilising, I felt vaguely threatened by it. 40 years on and the situation - and by that I mean primarily the psychological situation, although 'external' circumstances have changed too - is quite different. So my first observation is that if you are young and still full of the joys of Spring, it is possibly more difficult to connect with this book, which is ostensibly about a man for whom the chewing-gum of life has lost it flavour. Ultimately, the novel is about the nature of meaning, in particular the absence of it. Loss of meaning is something which may strike many of us at some point or other: the question is whether we confront and deal with it, or ignore it and anaesthetise or distract ourselves. Roquentin is a man of few roots, which makes it difficult for him to avoid the issue of meaninglessness. As he describes his experience, we get to grips with the related ground: reality/perception, alienation/relationship, time, identity, despair, freedom, action and art - indeed the whole kit and caboodle of so-called existential angst. Clue: the book does not take you to a destination but it may lead you to a jumping-off point. Tip: don't take it too seriously :-)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking amazing, 5 April 2010
By 
Room for a View - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This edition benefits from an excellent introduction by James Woods and an engaging translation by Robert Baldick. I approached this book with some trepidation anticipating loads of unfathomable philosophical ideas. But I found the book highly readable and the adventures of bourgeois loner Antoine Roquentin enthralling. I have a limited understanding of Sartre's existentialism but if the sometimes bizarre behaviour of Roquentin is anything to go by, I think that the experience of being continually hyper -sensitive to existing can be a bed of nails at the best of times. Take, for instance, the many examples, of Roquentin's introspective plunges into the black existential void, which often involve profound meditations on the objective meaningless and absurdity of existence and things leading to despair and anguish. For me there were bizarre and dare I say humorous moments such as Roquentin's obsession with his hands ("these two animals moving about at the end of my arms") or trying to think about not thinking ("there's no end to it") not to mention the "sweet-sickness" of a stream of consciousness he describes as Nausea. Roquentin's long final journal entry appears to describe an acceptance of his condition and a future time writing a book when he can look back on his life "without repugnance".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The fourth best Sartre novel, 14 Dec 2009
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I wondered whether after all the other reviews it would be worth adding another opinion, after all would my view, existing only on the absurdity that is the net, mean anything and could or would it exist for all time or until no one was around to see it; would it come into existence when someone else had read it. Am I only providing this review to validate my reality?

Nausea was Sartre's first novel demonstrating his existential philosophy. It is very much more the monolog of Roquentin; there really are very few other characters only Anny and the Autodidactic - who I took to represent as it were `love' and `other people' in anyone's life experience. I suppose like most first novels Sartre was honing his craft perhaps even his philosophy. The story itself is quite shallow but the ideas about life inflate the tale to something significantly more worthy (so job done!). It is more readable as a narrative than say Pessoa's "Book of Disquiet" but perhaps doesn't have the colour or humour. If you wondered what you might expect I now present a few quotes from the book:

"It is I, it is I who pull myself from nothingness to which I aspire: hatred and disgust for existence are just so many ways of making me exist, of thrusting me into existence."

"I exist that's all. And that particular trouble is so vague, so metaphysical, that I am ashamed of it."

"....there's nothing, nothing, absolutely no reason for existing."

"I dreamed vaguely of killing myself, to destroy at least of these superfluous existences. But my death itself would have been superfluous......I was superfluous for all time."

I had previously passed the time enjoying the trilogy of Age of Reason, Reprieve and Iron in the Soul. These offer a much more engaging story with an arc of characters that develop in a very interesting pre to post war France period but you still get the existentialism. If you like stories and haven't read any Sartre before, I'd suggest you start with AofR first and progress from there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


66 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, but obscure book, 11 Nov 2003
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I can see how it might be easy for someone to dislike this book: its central concern is the main character's inability to act, which for some might go against the very point of writing a story. But Sartre's genius comes in being able to highlight the many different sides to a seemingly simple problem.
This was (I think) Satrte's first published work of fiction, and really its an exposition not of his ability to handle multiple stories and different narrative styles, but of the philosophical ideals which he went on to write in Being and Nothingness. If you can't tolerate existentialism in its rawest form, its probably not worth trying to enjoy this book.
The story is essentially about a man who lives alone in a small French town, attempting to produce a book on the Marquis de Rollebon, an obscure french noble, having up until this point lived what he had previously believed to bed a fulfilled life. But in the writing of the book he soon comes to question what he is doing with his life now, and whether in fact he has ever lived. He soon finds himself falling apart, as he looks in the mirror, the deeper he looks the less he recognises in his own face.
The book is, due to its subject matter, a very isolating experience: Roquentin only really comes into contact with two people, both of whom he resents absolutely. Its the expression of an angry young man, angry as much at himself as at the world and other people. In this way it is hard to stomach, but this is what Sartre intended, hence the title. Every time Roquentin feels himself overwhelmed by his disgust at being alive he feels the nausea overcome him. This makes the book at times, for those who are able to empathise with Roquentin, very uncomfortable reading, but through this it s very rewarding, when we, with him, see some hope behind his anguish, some conclusion to it. Much like Camus's Le Etranger it is in the height of his suffering that he reaches real elation of self-knowledge.
In fact Camus's work is a good book to compare it to. That in itself is a fairly short and sparse work, and both describe a character who are confronted by the absurdity of their life. The difference however is the lack of a political edge to Sartre's work (though he does criticise humanism): Roquentin brings his suffering upon himself, while Camus's character is the victim of a legal system. For me, Sartre's approach is preferable, though others might prefer a character who is less passive than Sartre's.
Sartre's book is a book with we can question ourselves. Some might prefer his later more political orientated works, but for its intensity, Nausea is for me the more complete work. I gave it four only because it makes such difficult reading, describing both complex and disturbing issues about an individual's worth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars existentialist philosophy expounded through the everyday, 1 May 2000
By 
helterskelter86@hotmail.com (Tunbridge Wells, England) - See all my reviews
Nausea is a philosophical novel. It's the diary of a historian who lives on his own in a hotel room, leaving it only to sit in cafes and the public library, where he has a passing, indifferent acquaintance with another loner. The circumstances are banal, and it's through the eyes of this solitary in these everyday circumstances that Sartre dissects people, their pride, their illusions and their blindness in a very convincing way, developing to a discussion of existence itself.
I couldn't stress enough how important I consider this work to be - I have come to value everything else I have read in terms of it, and they always suffer in comparison. It is quite shockingly complete, compact and profound. Not only is this a great work of literature, a sensitive insight into human loneliness and a beautiful coherent whole, but it is also the work of a logician; from basic realities and simple observation, Sartre guides us step by logical step towards some truly unexpected, disturbing conclusions.
To me Nausea is a testament to what a man can achieve with a pen and paper.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'll change your perspective in one reading..., 2 Jan 2001
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Granted Sartre leaves one feeling empty and worthless in one sense, but he also gives the reader the ability to view the world in it's true form: a soup of superfluous existences. If ever you asked yourself what the world is beneath the materialist skin, Nausea answers the question perfectly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of twentieth century literary fiction, 9 Aug 2000
By A Customer
'Nausea' was first published in 1938. I read it for the first time in the early seventies, at which time it still seemed absolutely contemporary (far more alive in fact than many more recent books). It remains one of my touchstones, one of the few books from that period of my reading which I still reread.
'Nausea' is one of the defining texts of existentialism, which, if now unfashionable, still looks like the most seriously intended and influential philosophy of the second half of the twentieth century: it is also a fine novel, which anticipates many of the trends of postwar fiction. It should be on anybody's list of the most significant fiction published in the last century.
Much fiction written between 1900 and 1945 seems almost unreadable now because the world has changed so much: but as with the stories of Kafka, this is not the case with 'Nausea'. Certainly the way in which it deals with the most serious questions without descending into pedantry or obscurity is a model for the philosophical novelist, and makes much contemporary fiction appear trivial and underachieving by comparison.
If you have read and enjoyed this book and want to explore further in French fiction of the 30s and early 40s, I would suggest trying Drieu la Rochelle's 'Will o'the Wisp' ('Le feu follet', 1931), Saint-Exupery's 'Night Flight' ('Vol de nuit', 1931), Celine's 'Journey to the End of the Night' ('Voyage au bout de la nuit', 1932) , Queneau's 'The Bark Tree' ('Le Chiendent', 1933) and Camus's 'The Outsider' ('L'etranger', 1942), all of which are in the same league as 'Nausea', though only the Camus has been as influential in the English-speaking world. None of Sartre's other fiction is as achieved as 'Nausea', though the early short stories are interesting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A leetle Sue-rayalism monsieur?, 26 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
`The true nature of the present revealed itself: it was that which exists, and all that was not present did not exist. The past did not exist.`

It was when I read these lines that I suddenly found myself really relaxing into this book - a little late perhaps, at the half way point - but I have been paying attention and I am beginning to think that this genre of literature is the one I actually like, or which I find most educational - enlightening is perhaps a better word! - I have been genre hopping for some time now.

This book explores the daily life, in the form of a diary, of a writer and reveals his struggle in trying to find sense in existence. Thought provoking and imaginative. Of course! This is the very essence of this kind of work. How to make sense of this collection of atoms - ie us, and the environment in which we exist.

At times, Sartre writes in a markedly Surrealist style and I found images of Dali appearing in my mind. Consequently, this book may not appeal to those looking for a more conventional, `safe` view of the world. There is a thread of torment woven in to the narrative, but the writer reveals how the very act of writing provides a certain relief, if not a cure for the Nausea.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Really fitting for an existential crisis I was experiencing! Loved it, 30 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Excellent book, unique and positively challenging. Sartre examines ideas and questions that I have pondered for most of my life and I really enjoyed reading these written through the narrative of Antoine Roquentin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics)
Nausea (Penguin Modern Classics) by Jean-Paul Sartre (Paperback - 30 Nov 2000)
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews