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The Boxer and the Goalkeeper, By Andy Martin


Droll, absorbing, gently erudite, this dual study of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre presents the intimate rivalry of the great French writer-thinkers as "not just a faultline in the history of the 20th century, but also a rift in the psyche".

Sartre - no slouch in the ring - boxed his many foes; Camus, a famous keeper back in Algiers, sought to save - the soul, nature, even humanity.

In Martin's breezily freewheeling prose, Sartre the "symbolic" man of dialectic, and conflict squares up with Camus, the sensual "savage" who hankered for unity.