• “All Men are Mortal,” by Simone de Beauvoir. Sure, maybe Beauvoir’s on-again, off-again lover Jean-Paul Sartre gets most of the fame. But Beauvoir was clearly the more talented novelist. In All Men are Mortal, young 20th-century French actress Regina meets drifter Raymond Fosca, who turns out to be an Italian prince born in 1279 who ingested a potion granting him eternal life. As it turns out, immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Fosca eventually learns that if it isn’t a meaningful existence, it’s hardly an existence at all.
Justin Vernold is a copy editor at The Daily Star. Contact him at email@example.com.