Wednesday, April 30

Book Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus

Author: Albert Camus
Title: The Stranger
Genre: Classic, Fiction
Pages: 123
First Published: 1942
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

"Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed 'the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.'"

Randomly stumbled upon this while at the library and I thought I'd give it a go. Had no idea this was a "popular classic".

Well....I'm not sure where to begin or what to really say....ummm....

Well, this was interesting and random. I'm honestly surprised in my college experience so far I haven't read this yet or even heard of it. It's supposedly a "fine" example of existentialism. NEW LITERARY TERM I LEARNED! Head of the English department would be proud of me. haha. After doing some research on this theory and thought process, I can agree. Albert Camus' novel does embody it. The main character, Mersault, especially is a model of this.

Oooooooooooooh Mersault. You silly, silly man. I think he has something wrong with him. He has no feelings. What do I mean by that? He doesn't care about anything. Even when he ends up in jail he shows nothing and feels nothing until he snaps at a priest. That was the most he ever displayed or felt. Throughout the whole book he just didn't care. The only things he cared about was eating, sleeping, having fun with his pals, and sleeping with his girlfriend. I get the message and that it doesn't matter ultimately in the end. Everyone is to die and there is nothing one can do. Fate has already dealt out your hand without your consent. The government and law and other people have complete control over you ultimately. That is why Mersault doesn't really care. 

Also, the book makes one question what makes one human or makes one part of society. There are certain things one must feel/display to be considered human. There are certain norms of humanity. Mersault does not follow the majority of these norms and thus is used against him and labels him "inhuman" and a "monster" and should be punished. Even though him killing the Arab was an accident, he doesn't feel regret one would normally feel. It's not that he's a cold-blooded killer, he just doesn't have the ability to feel "regret" or "remorse". Hell, he didn't feel anything when his mother died. He just felt tired and wanted a cup of coffee with a cigarette. Yet, again, the last point I made comes to play here. He could have stood up and defended himself until his throat was raw, but he saw no point. In the end, he's going to die someday. 

I could defiantly see this book being discussed in a literature class. 

It is a simple and quick read. The author wrote this in Mersault's POV, so it was simple and not over flowing with fancy words or anything. I'm glad he picked this way, because it made one understand the character better. I do, however, wish I had read this in the original language. It's in French and I'm a little rusty, so I decided to continue this in English. Usually in translation something is lost, so someday I think I may find this in the original language and read it. 

In the end, this was an interesting read. It was a small book and I got it done within 24 hours. This is not by any means the book of the century, but it is something someone should read if they like the classics. It truly does make one look at the world differently and makes one think. I shall stamp this with...ummm....4 stars? More like 3.5 but I don't give decimals. 

Favorite Character(s): No one
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Raymond and the Magistrate


Blodeuedd said...

One day, oh those one days

Carole Rae said...

hahaha I feel ya.