It is September 1938 and during a heatwave, Europe tensely awaits the outcome of the Munich conference, where they will learn if there is to be a war. In Paris, people are waiting too, among them Mathieu, Jacques and Philippe, each wrestling with their own love affairs, doubts and angsts - and none of them ready to fight.
It is September 1938 and during a heatwave Europe tensely awaits the outcome of the Munich conference, where they will learn if there is to be a war. In Paris people are waiting too, among them Mathieu, Jacques and Philippe, each wrestling with their own love affairs, doubts and angsts - and none of them ready to fight. The second volume in Sartre's wartime Roads to Freedom trilogy, The Reprieve cuts between locations and characters to build an impressionistic collage of the hopes, fears and self-deception of an entire continent as it blinkers itself against the imminent threat of war.
Philosopher, novelist, playwright and polemicist, Jean-Paul Sartre is thought to have been the central figure in post-war European culture and political thinking. His most well-known works, all of which are published by Penguin, include THE AGE OF REASON, NAUSEA and IRON IN THE SOUL.
Following his Age of Reason in the existentialist triology, the focus in this second volume is international rather than individual, concentrated on the eight days of anxiety while the world pivoted on the verge of war, and Munich provided reprieve. Here is France as she underwent mobilization, showed largely fear and negativism in the face of war, reflected through a fairly sizable cast of characters and by a technique of alternating transition sometimes difficult to follow. Once again one meets Mathieu, who, having escaped the personal pitfall of marriage to Marcelle, anticipates war with resignation - "humanity will continue on its futile journey"; Daniel, the homosexual, who married Marcelle and sits out her pregnancy; Philippe, the general's stepson, pacifist by intellect, coward at heart; Russian born Boris and his Lola, and so on and on. Once again there is a fair amount of physical passion, in realistic rather than aesthetic terms...The market will be fairly well pre-determined on Sartre's name, and the interest in the earlier book, on which the sequel is dependent. (Kirkus Reviews)
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