Get a free audiobook

At the Existentialist Café

Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails
Written by: Sarah Bakewell
Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Paris, near the turn of 1933. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, 'You can make philosophy out of this cocktail!'

From this moment of inspiration, Sartre will create his own extraordinary philosophy of real, experienced life - of love and desire, of freedom and being, of cafés and waiters, of friendships and revolutionary fervour. It is a philosophy that will enthral Paris and sweep through the world, leaving its mark on post-war liberation movements, from the student uprisings of 1968 to civil rights pioneers.

At the Existentialist Café tells the story of modern existentialism as one of passionate encounters between people, minds and ideas. From the 'king and queen of existentialism' - Sartre and de Beauvoir - to their wider circle of friends and adversaries including Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Iris Murdoch, this audiobook is an enjoyable and original journey through a captivating intellectual movement.

Weaving biography and thought, Sarah Bakewell takes us to the heart of a philosophy about life that also changed lives, and that tackled the biggest questions of all: what we are and how we are to live.

©2016 Sarah Bakewell (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What the critics say

"At the Existentialist Café takes us back to...when philosophers and philosophy itself were sexy, glamorous, outrageous; when sensuality and erudition were entwined.... [Bakewell] shows how fascinating were some of the existentialists’ ideas and how fascinating, often frightful, were their lives. Vivid, humorous anecdotes are interwoven with a lucid and unpatronising exposition of their complex philosophy.... Tender, incisive and fair." (Jane O’Grady, Daily Telegraph)
"This lucid study of the existentialists picks out some overlooked figures and exposes the sexual hypocrisies of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre." (Jane O’Grady, Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
No reviews are available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nick
  • 2018-06-08

Engaging book

Well researched and engaging. Excellent narration. Highly recommended for anyone interested in existential thought and the history of the 20th century.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jens Marsling
  • 2016-08-30

well written, finely narrated, thought provoking

a worthwhile reminder of what the existentialists have done and still do for our modern day society and the humanistic, gender-specific, cultural and existence questioning problems and thoughts we all face every day.