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Paperback review: The Boxer and the Goalkeeper, By Andy Martin


The Boxer is Jean-Paul Sartre; the Goalkeeper is Albert Camus; and this book is a philosophical-cum-literary biography of their friendship and rivalry.

Martin's sympathies seem, rightly, to be with Camus, who comes across as healthily distrustful of Sartre's liking for absolutes, and sceptical of his dictum that Hell is other people and his support for totalitarianism. Yet each man contained elements of the other, which accounts for the intensity of their relationship. The biographical elements are of greater interest than the philosophical ones, though.The book is full of the usual pop-intellectual references to Derrida, Nietzsche and Schrodinger's Cat, as well as some rather weak puns, glib paradoxes, and pictures with comic captions – at times it felt reminiscent of a Biff cartoon.