Nick's Reviews > Man's Fate

Man's Fate by André Malraux
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Nov 05, 11

Read in November, 2011

Goncourt Prix in 1933 (La condition humaine). Malraux's incurssion into the human's nature, his reflections on our destiny and our race's meaning is what (in my mind) constitutes the main value of this book.

The novel is much more than just a history of the Communist crashing at the hands of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang in 1927 Shanghai. Aside from capturing this historical moment which marked the split between the two political partners and the start of the Chinese Civil War, Man's Fate gave me new reason to see ourselves as the challenged species we are: too aware of our contract with time, too "enthusiastic" about our little significance (nothingness). (boy, I feel human!!!)

A man's portrait? Look no further: "Every man dreams of being a God ..." But then again, "He would like to be a God without losing his humanity." The story with the cherry on the cake.

And as with our species (inconstant, paradoxical, also able of greatness), in all the bad, there are islands of good: The passing of the cyanide (the Russian communist Katov at peace with himself); the older Gisors' - tired of living, but finding absolutely wonderful philosophical wealth in the process; Kyo's wife, May, who is also tired of leaving (but one can see how she'll nevertheless get married again and probably have kids ....).

Characters dissapear in this novel (Baron deClappique, Valerie) just like in real life (people we browse by in our existence, only to sink in the dark afterwards): We don't learn what happened to them in the end, we'll never know. Destinies cruise through life, we cruise through ours.

Sometimes three stars, more often five, I decided to give it four stars in the end. A reading worth my time!
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