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CliffsNotes on Camus' The Stranger

CliffsNotes on Camus' The Stranger

Автором Gary K Carey

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CliffsNotes on Camus' The Stranger

Автором Gary K Carey

оценки:
4/5 (170 оценки)
Длина:
113 pages
1 hour
Издатель:
Издано:
Aug 20, 2007
ISBN:
9780544184053
Формат:
Книге

Описание

The meaninglessness and randomness of life was a constant theme in Camus's writing. This story is absurd, yet touches a chord within the reader that surely will resonate for years to come. A man is condemned to beheading because he was indifferent at his mother's funeral. In prison he finds freedom and happiness. Death becomes his greatest moment of life.
Издатель:
Издано:
Aug 20, 2007
ISBN:
9780544184053
Формат:
Книге

Об авторе

GARY CAREY, M.A., was in the publishing profession for over 25 years.


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CliffsNotes on Camus' The Stranger - Gary K Carey

Analysis

Part One: Chapter I

The Stranger is a very short novel, divided into two parts. In Part One, covering eighteen days, we witness a funeral, a love affair, and a murder. In Part Two, covering about a year, we are present at a trial that recreates those same eighteen days from various characters’ memories and points of view. Part One is full of mostly insignificant days in the life of Meursault, an insignificant man, until he commits a murder; Part Two is an attempt, in a courtroom, to judge not only Meursault’s crime but also to judge his life. Camus juxtaposes two worlds: Part One focuses on subjective reality; Part Two, on a more objective, faceted reality.

The novel opens with two of the most quoted sentences in existential literature: Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The impact of this indifference is shocking, yet it is a brilliant way for Camus to begin the novel. This admission of a son’s unconcern about his mother’s death is the key to Meursault’s simple, uneventful life as a shipping clerk. He lives, he doesn’t think too much about his day-to-day living, and now his mother is dead. And what does her death have to do with his life? To Meursault, life is not all that important; he doesn’t ask too much of life, and death is even less important. He is content to, more or less, just exist. But by the end of the novel, he will have changed; he will have questioned his existing and measured it against living—living with an awareness that one can have and demand for himself—that is, a passion for life itself.

Today’s readers of this novel have usually been exposed to such an anti-hero as Meursault (think of Willey Loman in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman or Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22), but to those who read this novel when it was first published, Meursault was a most unusual man. They were confronted with a man who has to attend to the details of a death—and not just a death, but the death of his mother. And the tone of what Meursault says is: so, she’s dead. This tone is exactly what Camus wanted: he calculated on its shock value; he wanted his readers to examine closely this man who does not react as most of us are expected to do. Meursault is very matter-of-fact about his mother’s death. He does not hate his mother; he is merely indifferent to her death. She lived in a nursing home not far from him because he didn’t have enough money to pay the rent and buy food for them both, and also because she needed somebody to be with her a great deal of the time. They didn’t see each other very often because, in Meursault’s words, they had nothing else to say to each other.

Camus is challenging us, in effect, with this idea: Meursault has a unique freedom; he does not have to react to death as we are taught by the church, by novels, movies, and cultural mores. His mother gave him birth; she reared him. Now he is an adult; he is no longer a child. Parents cannot remain parents; children, likewise, at a certain point, are no longer children. They become adults, and when Meursault became an adult, he and his mother were no longer close. Eventually, they had nothing else to say to each other. Meursault is no longer responsible to his mother for his actions. He defines himself and his own destiny. And, at this moment in his life, Meursault cannot succumb to the rituals of frantic, emotional breast-beating because of his mother’s death. Meursault is not rebellious; he has simply discarded burdensome gestures. He cannot exaggerate his feelings.

Meursault has a special kind of freedom; he has made a commitment, an unconscious commitment, really; he has committed himself to living his life his way, even though it is dull, monotonous, and uneventful. He has no desire, no driving ambition, to prove his worth to other people. To most people, a funeral is an emotional trauma; for Meursault, note that his mother’s wake is so insignificant that he borrows a black tie and armband for the funeral: why spend money for them when he would use them only one time? And he almost misses his bus for the funeral. He will bury his mother with church rites, but his sense of freedom is his own; he will physically do certain things, but he cannot express emotions that do not exist.

Thus we see Meursault’s reaction to death. Consider, then, after the funeral, his attitude toward life. Meursault enjoys life. One can’t say that he has a rage for living, but he affirms simple physical pleasures—swimming, friendships, and sex—not spectacularly, but remember that he is not a hero, just a simple shipping clerk. Note, too, that on the way to the funeral, during the vigil, and during the funeral itself, Meursault’s reactions are mostly physical. When he enters the mortuary, for example, his attention is not on the wooden box that holds his mother’s corpse. He notices, first, the skylight above and the bright, clean whitewashed walls. Even after the mortuary keeper has left, Meursault’s attention is not on the coffin; instead, he reacts to the sun, "getting low, and the whole room was flooded with a pleasant, mellow

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  • (4/5)
    The book left a strange feeling in my head - can't put a finger on it even after a few days have gone by. It's something like this:  how mere circumstances - if not judged or addressed precisely - can run havoc with a person's life... On the one hand, the protagonist is an irritatingly noncommittal personality, who at the same time gives you an idea that he does have opinions but they are hidden. And on the other hand, this kind of neutrality completely sets him apart from everybody else; it's as if he "knows" something that others don't and thus behaves like he does. But this noncommittal attitude lands him in more trouble than he could have every imagined. One almost feels that there are laws of karma or fate in play here. That's regarding the plot, and not to give the details away.As far as writing, it's my first A. Camus, and I did enjoy his style. The way he narrates and describes  - whether it's people or the background - he draws you in completely, intimately.  A palpable depiction of Algiers heat... I felt it on my skin... Also, I saw it mentioned by other reviewers that in another translation the novel's title is "The Outsider", which I think is the better interpretation of the word.
  • (1/5)
    Some time years ago, a critic or other influential person looked at the canvas Jackson Pollock had slung some paint onto and declared it "art." Ever since that time, people who have encountered that spilled paint mess and other stuff by Pollock have looked at it to try to figure out how anyone could call it "art." It has been a particularly difficult struggle for kindergarten teachers.
    Similarly, somewhere back in time, someone with influence read some stuff and determined that it was an new genre of literature. They named it "existentialism." It was work in which the blindingly obvious was observed and described in stripped down terms. It often occurred in unpleasant stories, often almost lacking in point or purpose, and paraded out to n unsuspecting and unsuspecting public who admired it just as it had the Emperor' New Clothes as he paraded naked through the streets.
    I detested existentialism when compelled to read it in college and now have been reminded why.
  • (2/5)
    This is an absurd story, which is written in a choppy matter of fact style. The author attempts to make jest at religion, justice, and life. He makes some points regarding the inevitability of death and the ridiculous bias of people steeped in religion. His main character is almost lifeless and stupidly naive. This makes the story absurd as well as the unbelievable proceedings of the trial.
  • (4/5)
    The Stranger by Albert Camus 1946 4.0 / 5.0'The Stranger' is considered a classic novel by French author, Albert Camus. Philosophical, this book explores the absurdity of the world, and profound inability of society to understand a quiet, solitary man, labeling him indifferent. When he finds himself in a compromising situation, it is this label they use to make him appear guilty. A novel of alienation and absurdity.
  • (4/5)
    This book is straight-forward. A trip into the mind of a man, who acts and thinks like a stoic; his journey through life is simple, basically because he does what he wants and doesn't care for much. He's easily bored and seemingly steers away from what he's not attracted to. He doesn't even do a lot of "mandatory" stuff when he doesn't want to.

    Even though I like the descriptions in the book as well as the plot, it's what's not there which interests me most; explanations to the man's behaviour are scarce, and this book is to me akin to Antonioni's "L'Avventura", where a clear plot is far from obvious, if even there.

    All in all: short, concise and well-written. Highly interesting, mainly because it's so post-modern.
  • (4/5)
    A Book You Can Finish In A DayI need to add an addendum to the category I assigned The Stranger to: But Not Fully Appreciate. Until the final chapter, this is a book whose first person narrator Meursault relates his personal history as if he were observing, rather than living, his life. He is not even a particularly interested observer, relating many of the events as though he is a reporter covering a slow news day. Although he leads a normal life from the standpoint of activities (friends, work, sex), he is detached from his life - indeed, often bored at the moments other people would be most emotionally invested. He is so disinvested in his mother's death that he is uncertain as to whether she died the day he received the telegram or the day before, and takes no interest in determining which day it occurred on. He does not even know his mother's age. He agrees to marry the woman he is sleeping with (you cannot describe his involvement with her in romantic terms) but readily admits he probably doesn't love her and would marry another woman that asked. Even his killing of a man he has no reason to kill is a mechanical act related in purely clinical fashion.In Part Two we watch the events of the first part spun into a sinister tale by the prosecutor, leading to a sentence of death. Yet even this outcome doesn't change his demeanor. It is only a priest's attempt to get him to repent that finally provokes him to anger and an outpouring of his nihilistic outlook on life. The book's summation is both incredibly well written and incredibly morose. I find Meursault's acceptance of "the benign indifference of the universe" and his belief that we are all equally condemned regardless of our actions a poor excuse of a philosophy. My copy included an insert written by Camus over a decade after the book's publication. In it he characterizes his antihero as dying for the "truth", which I interpret (and reject) as: only by accepting the meaninglessness of life can we live to the fullest.An interesting book that I enjoyed in spite of my disagreement with Camus' personal beliefs.
  • (4/5)
    Really short and simple book, but so good. Makes you think about life, time and what are we doing with it without making a big deal out it.
  • (3/5)
    I had similar feelings about this novel as I did to the previous Camus novel I read back in 2012, The Plague. Like that one, the events surrounding the life of the narrator have an otherworldly feel, seeming to take place in a time bubble, we only know it is set in the author's native French Algeria through the references to unnamed Arab characters and swelteringly hot weather. The first half of the novel was very banal, dealing with the death of the narrator's mother and his interactions with his neighbours, including the unpleasant Raymond, and with his lover Marie. Then a dramatic incident half way through leads to a change of pace, and the narrator is tried for murder. His own character and temperament do not help him in this situation, and his circumstances deteriorate. While the second half was a more dramatic read, it is still told in an impersonal and distant style, not typical of a first person account.When I did my French A level back in the mid-80s, this was one of set texts some of us studied - though in my class we did Sartre's Les Mains Sales, which was more interesting than this, and for which I am retrospectively grateful to my teachers of 1984.
  • (4/5)
    As a dilettante translator I find this book fascinating, even though I don’t read French.Literary texts are sacred and you cannot alter them; translations on the other hand are a more or less faithful reflection of the original text, but can be altered, changed, or renewed. Did Proust write "Remembrance of Things Past" or "In Search of Time Lost" or “In Search of Lost Time"? My favourite is Gabrielle Roy's "Bonheur d'occasion" published in English as "The Tin Flute". As a general point, a translation transmigrates one text for another; often the "mistakes" don't matter (to the monoglot reader). On the other hand, the title is the only part of a work of literature known even to those who haven't read it. I note in passing that étranger “doesn’t just mean "stranger" but also "foreigner", and in the colonial context, that could have been a possibility too. It's a bit like 9 to 5 by Sheena Easton and 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton.I am very much of the view that it is a disservice to Camus to read L'Etranger as an allegory of abstract existentialism. It is essentially a reflection on the unique colonial experience that was French Algeria, and, in that aspect, the book should be taken as underlining that that experience was tragic, as for the Pieds-Noirs in general, and tragic in a personal sense for Camus himself. Camus was one of the greatest representatives of liberal universalism of the last century, and yet the liberal universalism that he expounded left him an outsider/stranger/foreigner within Algeria, once the war of independence began, and at the same time intellectually homeless in the France whose civilisation he was steeped in and to which he was culturally and politically committed. Had Camus lived to pass his 101st birthday, as with Herman Wouk, he might have felt vindicated by the collapse of Marxism-Leninism in Eastern Europe, but I am sure that he would have found the War on Terror to leave him feeling even stranger, foreign and an outsider in relation to the things that he cared about. When one surveys the horrors of the contemporary, who does not conclude that they stand as a stranger, outsider or foreigner as to what unfolds?Meursault is a lonely, asocial, anomic outsider but (or because of it) he is also a foreigner, in that he is an European Frenchman in Algeria. Algeria is everywhere in the book and Algerians are glimpsed, as foreign characters themselves. Camus, an European Frenchman born to dirt-poor parents in Algeria, was acutely aware of that hiatus between perceived nationalities, which had yet to develop into the Algerian War. Camus saw himself primarily as a philosopher and a political writer. His novels always had to read from a political perspective - The Plague being a case in point. "The Foreigner" would be provocative, as the accepted notion then was that Algeria's inhabitants were French. But "L'Etranger" carried the same provocation, and IMHO on purpose. I would go for The Outsider as the correct translation, personally, but that's for three simple reasons:Being also a "translator", I would by instinct (all due of course to personal experience) have opted for “Outsider” over “Stranger”...Meursault is part and not part of this world...he seems often to inhabit it in body only...his mine free, critical, questioning...he's far beyond those around him...outside of the expected norm... of course that could all be a subjective response on my part, due to the way i identify with the main character...In Spanish the translation of the book takes another direction altogether... El Extranjero... that is, the "Foreigner"... which in many respects could be both a stranger and an outsider...or perhaps even a fusion of both... A better title for the book could have been THE MISFIT, because the idea for the main character is that he doesn´t fit in the world where he lives and the morality of that society.If Camus wrote it now, the book presumably wouldn`t be published, or at best would be torn apart by the critics. A book where the non-white, non-Christian locals barely get a look-in. How absolutely appalling.NB: Despite being, since the 1930s, a staunch defender of indigenous Algerians against the injustices of the French colonial system, Camus was against Algerian independence, fearing that there would be no place for European Algerians in an independent Algeria ruled by the FLN, and that it would be disastrous for the Algerians too. While his hopes for a more enlightened French approach were illusory, his fears were not misplaced. The challenges of semiotics can be rather intense, especially in relation to geniuses such as Camus... It's one of my favourite novels, and my copy has always been the British translation.
  • (4/5)
    I re-read this book just this past month. I don't think I'll change my initial rating. It was a very well written story, compelling even with the translation. Although the main character is cold and sociopathic, the study itself is important and well done.
  • (4/5)
    1942, Algerian. I always thought Camus was French, but apparently he's Algierian. This little but bizarre book features a man condemned to die, at least partially because he didn't cry at his mother's funeral. I couldn't quite decide what the point was, but I think it was to show the criminal mind. He seems to have no moral compass and no strong feelings about anything one way or another. I wanted to feel sorry for him, but he really didn't seem human and I couldn't like him at all. I would have preferred to understand him. I don't believe criminals are necessarily monsters. I would have liked to be able to understand his motivation instead, but he doesn't seem to have one. Somehow he just passively had happened to murder someone and be condemned to death. He would perhaps prefer not to die, but he isn't that fussed about it either. Didn't like it, but it definitely had a kind of awesome feeling.
  • (2/5)
    This book was a bit depressing - it had somewhat of an oppressive feeling that I just couldn't get out from under. It follows a man whose mother has died and he essentially just spends a lot of time wandering around and thinking to himself (at least, that's the gist that I got). It reminded me of a less motivated and purposeless Holden Caulfield, which I didn't know was possible. I didn't really enjoy it much but I did finish. So there's that.
  • (5/5)
    The Stranger I have read many many times. It's a difficult book to review without spoiling it. I believe one only has to read the opening paragraph to understand this. In a way one has to read it to understand that what the writer did was portrait what is very common amongst us. Obviously that statement I just wrote, alongside the book itself, has been discussed and remains in discussion. I like books that seem taken out of a larger content, where you are left with a question of how much the author is involved in the writings. The Stranger is the perfect length. Don't give me 500 page make-me-feel-good books. I'd rather a short maze that leaves me puzzled at the end. I have someone laughing next to me as I'm writing this, saying that's because I write in the same way. Perhaps so but personally I think that is what makes a really good book like this. I still give it 5 stars although I wouldn't call it amazing.
  • (2/5)
    My memory of this book is less important to me than the memory of the context in which I read it. A year previous, the college where I worked announced it would be closing forever in 16 months. After watching my colleagues find new jobs and leave or get dismissed in several rounds of layoffs, during the school's final months, I found myself somehow still employed and put in charge of supervising the college's small library (because our librarian was one of those who found a job elsewhere) in addition to my increasingly nonexistent communications/PR work.

    I was instructed to start preparing to shut down the library and to run a giveaway of all the books in its collection. I converted the study tables into book displays with their own themes and subjects. The Stranger ended up on the fiction classics table, and I eyed it for a few days before picking it up and reading the first two pages. I was fascinated by the tone and decided to sit down and read it since it was short and I didn't have much of anything else to do that day. I found myself increasingly annoyed by the words and actions of the sniveling weasel of a narrator, but I sat in my empty library and read it through to the end and threw it into the box of books I was setting aside for myself. A trophy of an empty afternoon at a soon-to-be-empty campus.

    I'm sure there's irony in all this somewhere.

    C'est la vie.
  • (5/5)
    This book is absolutely beautiful. Camus has wonderful writing technique and the content is interesting. I'm sure I didn't read into this as deeply as I should have, but I still pulled a lot away from the book. Definitely one worth a reread.... or four. Loved it.
  • (4/5)
    I wasn't sure what to think when I first started reading this. It initially didn't feel worthy of the fuss, but as it enters the second part, it becomes a book that makes you think. Why are some things important, and others not? Why is it expected that the same things be important to all people? It also places you in the mind of a certain type of person, who doesn't have the same connection to society as the majority. The character isn't terribly likable, and yet he is interesting, and puts forward his viewpoint in a straight forward way, the same as any person. A very interesting piece of literature that is a quick read and easy to knock off your TBR list.
  • (4/5)
    This is a short novel (novella?), about a man living in Algiers. It is about part of his life, including the funeral of his mother, a murder he commits, his time in prison, and his trial.As a character, it wasn't difficult to empathise with him, as he has reasons for feeling the way he does about things and doing the things that he does. However the reason that he behaves how he does is that he doesn't have strong feelings or opinions about anything, which causes him to be indifferent towards love, cruelty, and death, though he seems to care somewhat about existence. He rationalises his actions by reasoning that it doesn't matter if one thing happens or another, and because of this and his honesty he is regarded as callous. It doesn't seem like he is a bad man, while the story is being read, as he is motiveless, not doing bad things because he likes to hurt people, but as a side-effect of almost complete indifference. If he could have lied about how he felt, and what he thought, then he could have been seen as a much nicer person by the other characters in the story.I don't know if there really are people like this, but I hope that there aren't too many. This was an interesting book to read, but I think Camus' "Myth of Sisyphus" was better.
  • (4/5)
    A simple and quick, but rich read. Camus relates his take on existentialism through Mersault, a peculiar man that seemingly lacks morals. Mersault acts as an objective sieve that filters the events that occur around him. As most of us place view the events that occur in our lives with feelings and sentiments, the view that Mersault presents us are a bit shocking. The lack of general emotion that Mersault displays, his detachment from things generally valued (marriage, maternal love, etc.), and the way he only seems to care about his immediate needs (hunger, heat, etc) make him appear as a strange person or a "stranger". The revelation that Mersault experiences after being condemned to death is the pivotal part of the novel. Why not do things for the sake of satisfying our most immediate needs? Since we are all likewise condemned to die, why do we place values on the events in our life or the decisions we make? It is at this moment that Mersault realizes the indifference of the world to man.
  • (4/5)
    This was the first Albert Camus book I've read, and I must say, I'll be reading more of his books. I kept coming across his name on other lists, and knew I had this one so I thought I'd try it. I'm going to go with everyone else's rants about the translation and say that was good, cause I obviously haven't read anything else...but I liked this story and the way it was written. For some reason it reminded me of The Rum Diary...so I kept picturing Johnny Depp....even though I've only seen the movie of that. Surprised by how short it was, I read it in about 2 days! Very good book!
  • (5/5)
    The quick and dirty about The Stranger: Meusault kills a man while on a weekend vacation with his girlfriend. Part I entails the events leading up to the murder and Part II is post-murder arrest and trial. The interesting component to the story is Meursault's (although not surprising) attitude towards the crime. From the very beginning Meursault has an apathy towards life in general. When he is confronted with a marriage proposal or a job offer he feels nothing. He barely shows emotion when his mother dies. It's as if he doesn't care about anything and yet, curiously, he keeps an old scrapbook where he collects things from the newspapers that interest him. He doesn't seem to understand love/hate relationships like the one his neighbor has with his dog of eight years. Meursault's attention span is also something to note. He is often distracted by lights being too bright, the ringing of bells and the chatter of people around him. the presence of light is particularly interesting since it is the sun that "causes" Meursault to murder.When Meursault murders a stranger for no apparent reason the fact he did it is not up for debate. It is the reason why that is questioned. Calling Meursault The Stranger is a contradiction because he is not a stranger in the traditional sense. He is not a loner or outcast. He has friends, coworkers, even a girlfriend. What Meursault is a stranger to is expected societal behavior, like mourning the loss of a parent or having feelings for someone he is in a sexual relationship with. Nothing that happens around Meursault has an emotional impact on him.
  • (4/5)
    This novel sneaks up and gets under your skin... The central message is maybe old or integrated into my corners of internet culture too deeply to be captivating in and of itself. The real genius of this book is the graduality with which its premise is manifested. Read it.

    8/10
  • (5/5)
    Spoiler alert! Not that it matters anyway, but don’t read this review if you don’t already know how it all ends. The Stranger is a perfect book, with a flawed philosophy. Camus is a liar. If he really believed in the absurdness of the universe, then why bother to create this book, and the others?I chose to read this, not because of the philosophy, but to learn a trick or two from a great writer. I write metaphysical science fiction, and one of my favorite authors is Philip K. Dick. I was not disappointed in Camus’ art. The story is balanced upon the violent act of murder, unpremeditated, and absurd. By then, I had lost all sympathy for a very unsympathetic character, and I began to realize the theme that nothing the character did made any difference to him or to the reader. Thou shalt not kill, God commands. Camus uses the breaking of that commandment to attack religious beliefs, although I did not see that until Mersault was throttling the priest in his prison cell. That resolution comes in the last hours of the antihero’s life, in the final pages of the story. Once it is over, you realize how it balances the scene around Mersault’s mother’s coffin in the quiet room at the Home at the start of the book. I am still studying how all the pieces of the plot fit together in such a very complicated pattern for such a simple story.But it was the poetic and striking descriptions of the reality through which Mersault wanders, that I liked the best. The cat crossing the deserted city street, the struggle between the old man and his dog, the long lines of cypresses beside the road to the graveyard, taking the streetcar to the harbor for a swim, all of these images stay with me. Even though Camus says, “never in my life had I seen anyone so clearly as I saw these people ... and yet I couldn’t hear them, and it was hard to believe they really existed”, his sparingly described supporting characters, Marie, Raymond, Salamano, Mother, and the Arabs, are more believable than Mersault himself.I should read another of Camus’ books, but I am afraid that it could not possibly be as good as this one!
  • (1/5)
    This has to be the most depressing book I have ever read. I think this is the first and last book out of the existential genre that I will ever read.
  • (5/5)
    "If something is going to happen, I want to be there," (113) says the narrator of "The Stranger," but he hasn't been there through most of the book. The Arab isn't the Stranger in question; the narrator is. And even in this late, apparent declaration of consciousness, he hasn't really appeared.

    Henry Miller did a terrible job of encapsulating the same feel, pre-WWII, that everything in life was up for grabs and it was all meaningless and terrifying. Camus' simple sentences might remind you instead of Hemingway, but that's wrong too; both write simply, but the feel is very different. Camus has more in common with Kafka: although the events aren't surreal, there's the same confused, comedic feeling of inevitability, of being washed along by the moons of the world. Kafka and Camus have the same essential message, and it's a valuable one, and it is: "Well, shit."

    You know that story about Salamano and his dog? They hate each other; Salamano kicks the dog along, and the mangy dog pulls him along, and it seems horrible for both parties. "He's always there!" says Salamano. (27) Well, this is a very dark view of life, but it's very nicely put, isn't it?

    I've been reading Richard Wright, so I compared the trial sequences; Camus' was much better, because although both characters' stories were finished before their trials started, Wright drilled that home way more than Camus did. "It was then I realized that you could either shoot or not shoot," says Camus. That'll do.
  • (5/5)
    Great book. Intense plotting. Great narrator. Great characters. Thought-provoking. Deep.
  • (3/5)
    Unusual,a moment of insanity, a death wish.
  • (5/5)
    One of my favorites!!!
  • (4/5)
    It is an Outsider,a class apart!
  • (5/5)
    One of the ten best books I've ever read; It's VERY intellectually rigorous and thought-provoking.
  • (4/5)
    Brilliant! I haven't read Camus as much as I would like, and this is an excellent start. It had sadness and pathos but not self pity. Mersault is more human than most people are, and his painful honesty is a lesson in humanity.