I read for you The Human Condition (André Malraux)

Nebulous Passages , chopped style, with no fluidity … The human condition is not an easy book to read. We do not always understand the meaning and we get lost in the narrative.

A summary

It all began in China, in spring 1927, while the great European powers, through their concessions, are still the law of the Middle Kingdom. Chiang Kai-Shek, wants to free his country from the yoke of foreign powers. His nationalist army marches on Shanghai. Already cells, previously dormant, wake into the city to prepare for the arrival of the liberators and agitate the working class gained by the communist theses. But Chiang Kai-shek suddenly sees these spontaneous uprisings as an obstacle to its inexorable rise. He returned his jacket and, aided by the Europeans, preparing the elimination of its troublesome allies. The massacres of the « green belt » can start ….


Kyo is an idealist and Communist leaders. (Is it the epitome of Malraux ?). It is, in any case, the son of Gisors, the theorist of the uprising, completely addicted to opium, convenient way to escape reality. May (symbolizing life) is the wife of Kyo. It is a German nurse, born in China, who embraced the revolutionary cause and will not hesitate to bed to accommodate (« because, well, the poor, he wanted so much ») … Chen (who symbolizes death ) has also been indoctrinated by Gisors and includes the fight if he is suicidal. He tasted the murder (see text below) and has only one obsession: to start again. It also crosses a veteran of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia  Katov who is generosity personified, a French and fantasist baron  (Mr. Clappique ), lover of women and gambling, western unscrupulous (Ferral) that lives for the domination of men in general and his wife ( Valerie ) in particular.

Murder (an arms dealer) policy Tchen

Chen he would try to raise the net? Hit it through? Anguish twisted his stomach; he knew his own strength, but was not able at this moment than to think with dazed, fascinated by this white chiffon heap falling from the ceiling on a less visible body a shadow, and which only came out this foot half inclined sleeping, living still – the flesh of man. The human condition of Andre Malraux.

The human condition is imposed, absurd and tragic

For man, because of his human condition:

  • was sentenced to death at birth (death is omnipresent in the novel Malraux);
  • is constantly torn by inner impulses he does not know, he discovered with age, but that he never will master (Chen discovers his fascination with death);
  • is desperately alone (it is foreign to itself, because it does (re) not known);
  • is confined against his will, to a life that is imposed and which is only a succession of suffering that only death will stop.

Is the revolution the means for Malraux to escape this human condition? Dying for ideas agree, but a slow death ….

Reviews Chavonnes

It is at the heart of the revolution within the workers’ circles; little people fighting for lost causes, to get out of poverty; the ideal of freedom is more important than life. But we do not know right away. It is lost in the maze designed by Malraux, without historical references without prior description of the situation. Who fight that? Who are the Shanghai Masters?

Malraux described the fierce fighting, the first suicide attacks, and then all lights.

You know the phrase, « It takes nine months to make a man, and only one day to kill. » We knew as much as we can know the one and the other … May, listen: it does not take nine months, must be sixty years to make a man, sixty years of sacrifices, will, … so many things! And when that man is made when there is nothing in him from childhood, or adolescence, when, really, it’s a man, it is not good to die. The