Daniel Morrison's Reviews > The Mandarins

The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir
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Nov 29, 09

Read in November, 2009

The book looks at the lives of left bank french intellectuals immediately after the liberation of Paris in 1944,
famous for including thinly veiled versions of the author, Albert Camus and Jean Paul Satre along with other members of their social circle. The large cast of characters is a little bewildering at first but it's to de Beauvoir's credit that all of them are developed well enough that none of them seem two dimensional or forgotten about. That said I preferred she came to stay generally because I liked the fact that it was more focused on fewer characters and a single situation and I felt that the mandarins was so large and wide in scope that it can seem a little alienating at times, but this is entirely down to personal preference on my part. de Beauvoirs ability to flesh out the emotional drive behind her characters actions remains excellent as per usual and here it enable you to develop a sense of empathy for characters whose actions are not particularly noble.
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