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on 20 April 2017
Genuinely fascinating book. One does not have to love it to find it constantly thought-provoking. But I would suggest that one read Breton's narrative first, avoiding any introduction or commentary. Why? Well, the account of the real individuals behind Breton's novel contains too many 'spoilers'. Save it for after.

I have recently come across a splendid book by George Melly - Paris and the Surrealists - which contains really good commentary on the 3 important novels - including this one - by the Surrealists (Breton: Nadja and Mad Love; Aragon: Paris Peasant)
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on 3 March 2016
great condition
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on 28 January 2016
Bought for my daughter. Appears to be as described.
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on 27 May 2015
Waited years to read this book thankyou so much
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on 5 October 2014
Fascinating, stream-of-consciousness narrative, with Nadja not appearing until page 64. Loved it and will re-read.
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on 23 December 1997
Nadja is one of Breton's best works in the way that it portrays the male/female relationship within the surrealist movement. Nadja is both a source of entertainment and enlightenment for Breton, though I saw her more as another way of objectifying the female figure in surrealist work. I loved the description and concentration on Nadja's character. On the other hand, the first several chapters of the book are almost cumbersome to all who want to get into the 'meat' of the text (I found them interesting, but some of my colleagues didn't). One thing that I must say about this work is that I don't believe that it functions as a love story, though many people that review the text feel that it does. Instead, I see it more as an interesting snapshot of relationship issues (in a surreal light) but not necessarily love issues. Another masterful work by the leader of surrealism.
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on 5 December 1999
This is one of the most important and underead books of the century. Standing alongside Joyce, Aragon and Durrell as a writer of place Breton writes of a Paris that is anti-monumental and anti-romantic by turns. This is not a gentle read. The relationship between the narrator and Najda leaves you stranded amoungst the disenchantment that is typical of surrealism, as opposed to the romanticism of popular-surrealism, whilst she ends up broken in an insane asylum he marvels at the surrealists survival. She 'lacked an instinct of self presevation...'
enjoy.
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on 19 June 2007
Books such as this, overflowing with ambiguity, should be approached two ways:

The first is with an open mind, at which in this instance, you are (providing Breton's rambling 60 page introduction doesn't bore you off) inevitably about to fall head over heels for the unusual, multi-faceted character; `Nadja'!

Yet what Nadja is; her identity, although alluring, is the voice in the back of our heads, that we silence each day that we participate in everyday life. She is the character that would not conform, freedom in purest essence, the presence that will leave shadows upon the lives of each person she meets, until inescapably stripped of her character by the ignorant minds who misinterpret her.

The second is, like I, to enter this auto-biographical account of Breton's genius with a question, which instead of reading in between the lines, you will undoubtedly find yourself falling into great crevices of self, where journeys seem to flow like underground rivers.

I recommend this book to anyone who is either looking for a good read, or seeking answers to the deepest journeys of identity and the world.
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on 2 October 2009
I spotted this book in the `cult classics' section of a local bookshop. I was immediately attracted to the surrealist cover (never judge a book by this) and the obvious inclusion throughout of old but interesting nonetheless b&w photos around Paris/France (around the period of the text 1920s). It is a short book even without about 30 sides of these stills. The introduction is very informative (almost biographical) about the author and his relationship with Nadja. Obvious point but I read the English translation so wouldn't be able to relate how good the original would be, or how badly the translation may or may not have contributed to the overall effect on the surrealist style of writing. For it's length the rrp at £10 is not cheap.

Now, I didn't find this a `surrealist' novel at all (I'm no literary expert or art critic) but it had no drama, colour, alternative perspectives or parallels - to be clear I wasn't expecting nonsense or some random thoughts but I hoped for a tale out of the ordinary - a Dali with words perhaps: it is not that sort of book. This is a book about an author trying to produce a new style of writing based on what was clearly a challenging relationship (a week of being 'in love') with the real Nadja. My problem and perhaps your problem if you have high expectations based on the 5 star reviews saying it is the `best example of' is that ultimately the style just comes across as plain poor and disconnected. I have never read a story where I felt I needed to re-read the previous sentence then decide I needed to go back to the previous then some more and so on;- it's not that it's difficult or thought-provoking, it's just disorganised and confusing. The story hidden within the soup of text isn't that good either.

I have selected, to my mind, a memorable sentence from the book for you: "I have always, beyond belief, hoped to meet, at night and in a woods, a beautiful naked woman or rather, since such a wish once expressed means nothing, I regret, beyond belief, not having met her."

Putting these criticisms aside; when I finished the book I reflected on the `whole' and whether the presentation and feelings one got amounts to anything. It is really only this that gives it 2 stars instead of 1.

If you're looking for alternative writing (perhaps not `surreal' as such) why not consider Perec's `Avoid' (300page good detective story without using a single letter `e' - even in translation!); or Perec's `Life a Users Manual' a tale constructed on the knights problem in Chess within a hotel of 8 floors each with 8 rooms also where for example he constructs sentences so that a letter `e' progresses from top right to bottom left corner of the page line by line; or Mario Llosa `Conversations in a Cathedral' which is an orderly muddle of events; every chapter of Joyce's Ulysses has virtually a different surreal style. The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov is a brilliant, to my mind, surreal story.
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on 7 June 2009
Breton is simply a very, very bad prose communicator, every single page has at least one paragraph that has to be read over and over again in order to make any sense of it. This is, in my opinion, not because what he is trying to say is so difficult, rather just a lack of disciplined editing, which creates a grinding read that just isn't worth the effort. Most people would be best served by first reading a Breton biography and then deciding what to do about the original texts.
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