Jean-Paul Sartre Words (1964)
Words is Sartre's dissection of his own formative years, revealing the composition of the soil in which his person, and by extension his later writing, was rooted. The surprising thing, at least to me, is how much of the later Sartre seems to have already been fully-formed and living his juvenile years like some kind of experiment designed to test the relationship between reality and our understanding of the same. Of course, there's not much point pretending he was literally thinking of anything in terms which would have directly made sense in Nausea or Age of Reason, but neither does it seem useful to read this as old man Sartre retroactively superimposing a narrative on his own childhood. He reads, he writes juvenile adventure novels in exercise books, he exists within a family, and all of this is told as a continuous landscape of experiences - as distinct from the more traditionally autobiographical lists of names, dates, and yappy commentary.
Through my flights of imagination, I was trying to attain reality.
Without actively cracking jokes, there's a pleasant lightness of touch here - something in the line of a more ponderous Tony Hancock, which is as such very readable, even entertaining, whilst strongly foreshadowing what was to come; so it's Nausea Babies, roughly speaking.