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5.0 out of 5 stars A book I want to live inside!, 8 Jun 2013
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Les Mandarins 2 (Mass Market Paperback)
This second volume of de Beauvoir's massive novel of Parisian intellectual life in the last years of, and just after, the second world war, picks up immediately from volume one (Les Mandarins 1).

On the personal level we have the story of Anne Dubreuilh's transatlantic love affair which draws on de Beauvoir's own affair with Nelson Algren, as well as the dreadful breakdown of lovely, desperate, fatally needy Paule who goes literally mad for love.

On the political level we have acute depictions of the increasingly fraught relationships between the French Leftist factions and the Communist Party; and the continuing reckoning with Nazi collaborators and former Gestapo spies.

At the heart of the book are a series of profound engagements with philosophical questions of how should we live in the face of an uncaring universe and the certainty of death - and characters are allowed to find their own ways of negotiating what it means to live a good life and to find a form of happiness.

This is a deep, rich and completely absorbing read written in de Beauvoir's clean and uncluttered prose. Because it refuses any kind of genre alignment, there's nothing neatly patterned, contrived, or expected about it and characters continue to surprise us right to the end.

I love this book so much that I just want to slip between the covers and live inside it! Highly recommended.
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Les Mandarins 2
Les Mandarins 2 by Beauvoir (Mass Market Paperback - 1 May 1973)
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