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The Mandarins – Simone de Beauvoir



Posted September 2, 2016 by

The Mandarins – Simone de Beauvoir – 1954

Reviewed by: Lale 

mandarinsA lot of shoulder shrugging. Dubreuilh shrugged his shoulders. Nadine shrugged her shoulders. There are exactly 140 shoulder shruggings in The Mandarins. It is annoying. First, I thought, maybe, it was the translation. So, I checked the original and found out that the excruciating shrugs were in the French version too (elle haussa les epaules). When people are not shrugging their shoulders, they are shaking their heads. Simone de Beauvoir, whose life and accomplishments I find fascinating, is not that great a story teller. Which is a shame because she always has interesting things to tell. The Mandarins is a captivating story if you can get past the style with which the dialogues are delivered. Simone de Beauvoir had told that this was not a biography, it was fiction. But, still, I am sure that it gives a pretty accurate account of how the intellectuals lived, contemplated, worked and played, especially just after the war. Camus, Sartre and many others are in there, under thin disguise.


ReadLit Team


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