Book Recommendation:

At the Existentialist Café: Of Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Blakewell

Review by Catherine McClure: So many members of our local AAUW branch belong to book clubs, including our own AAUW group. I recently recommended to one of the book clubs to which I belong. I first read this book in November of 2016 just after the election of our current President. It was astonishing to me the poignancy of this book to our own “age of anxiety”.

Sarah Bakewell’s writing is excellent. Her sense of humor and narrative style brings to life existentialists, Jean Paul Sarte, Simone de Beauvior and others including Camus, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. As a reviewer in Kirkus wrote (March 2016), Sarah Bakewell puts the work of the existentialists into “a historical context” and

explains how an era of dissatisfaction and anxiety gave rise to a definition of life as “choice, action, and self-assertion”. The existentialists’ belief in engagement and action in the face of anxiety and despair has been evident for many of us for some time. This book validates or restores one’s hope. And you just might want to try an Apricot Cocktail!