The Roads to Freedom Trilogy: Detailed Review

Category: On Writing Posted: July 15th, 2017

Over the last six months, I’ve been covering Jean-Paul Sartre’s brilliant Roads to Freedom trilogy on my literature review site – Moonshake Books. This was wrapped up today with the posting of my 10,000 word review of trilogy closer Iron in the Soul. In total, the trilogy has produced 20,000 words from me, of which I’m rather proud.

The Age of Reason

My day job delayed these reviews as I worked my way through an essential, six month content migration project, but I was able to review my favourite from the trilogy, the Age of Reason, in December 2016.

It was hugely influential for me when I first read it in early 2005 as a 19 year old – Sartre’s writing style and narrative structure taught me a lot about what was possible with, not just novel writing, but copy as well.

The Reprieve

The Reprieve I completed in May 2016 – it’s a psychological study of a nation on the brink of war, with Sartre’s interesting use of simultaneous prose making for a disconcerting read.

Some may find it difficult to follow as the writing leaps from one character to the next, often mid-sentence, but it’s worth sticking with it – it’s almost as if Sartre intended it to be emotionally and physically draining to read though. I think that’s quite the accomplishment, but it also made for a difficult book to review.

Iron in the Soul

Finally, Iron in the Soul is a dramatic account the aftermath of the Fall of France. With Nazi troops triumphantly on their way into the country, lead protagonist Mathieu Delarue contemplates his lot and decides whether to go out in a blaze of glory.

The second part of the novel is almost a polemical work, with the communist Brunet, as a POW, debating the putative failure of his ideology with an embittered realist called Schneider.

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