The story is written in the form of a diary. Its narrator and the main character is Antoine Roquentin. There are no distinct course of events here, because the author actually writes about his feelings and thoughts, and events themselves almost don’t play a significant role in his story. The reader sees some kind of sequence, development of the plot in the author’s marks of time of a day, or day of week, when the part of his diary is being written.
The author starts writing his diary in order to “see clearly”. He can say nothing definite about the time before he has started writing, there were no cases which he would call events. But recently he started to be afraid, and if he knew what is the reason of this feeling he would make a great “step forward”. He makes the conclusion that it’s not about him to be insane: the changes concern the outer world, but not him. At least, he would like to think so. But some time later he still decides that it is him, who changes all the time.
He reminisces the time, when after long travelling around the world he finally was going back to France: he would like to see the truth clearly before it is too late for him.
He lets the reader know that he’s working on the book. It’s a biography of The Marquis de Rollebon. Once he is sitting in the Café Mably: people are lively talking there, the host is darting among them. Antoine likes this atmosphere, but he admits that he is lonely, entirely lonely: The Self-Taught Man doesn’t account. He comes to one woman from time to time, but they don’t actually speak.
Once he wants to throw a pebble in the sea, but something stops him, he can’t do it, and runs out from there. The next time he sees the sheet of paper on the street, he wants to pick it up, but again this feeling doesn’t let him perform an action. It’s unpleasant feeling, and he names it Nausea. And in those times it was in his hands. He goes on writing his biographical work. But suddenly he realizes, that while recently he loved the Marquis, the main character of the work, now this man irritates him more and more.
He often goes to the library with The Self-Taught-Man. His name is Ogier. Antoine notices that his fellow reads the library’s books in alphabetical order. Antoine makes the conclusion that Ogier wants to read all the books there. He admires this man in some way. Once when Antoine is working on his writing here, and Ogier is reading his next book, in front of them there are two young boys. Antoine suddenly notices that Ogier is caressing one boy’s leg. A woman who is sitting hear them also notices it and Ogier is casted out from the library.
Antoine’s Nausea comes to him from time to time in absolutely different places and circumstances, and as suddenly it comes, as suddenly it goes away.
Antoine often writes about Anne, but not much. Some events, things recall him about her and he writes some words, not more. But when the reader connects these words together, he makes the conclusion that this woman could be Antoine’s love. And it’s true: once Antoine receives a letter from her, where she offers him to meet. He is looking forward to this meeting. When they meet the man notices that she isn’t that woman whom he knew anymore. But he understands that he still loves her. But their meeting is not long: she asks him to go, because she waits for another man.
Antoine has lived in Bouville for all this time. And now he decides to go to Paris. Waiting for his train, he goes to his favorite café, asks to put his favorite record and enjoys the music. He is saved from his Nausea with this song: he feels much better, he decides to write a “true” book.