"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Stranger (Albert Camus)

This post is dedicated to Robby, who, according to my book list, recommended this piece to me several months back.  Thank you, Robby!

From the back of my book: Through this story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

As one new to Camus (haha, that rhymes!), I have to say that The Stranger is one of the most unusual and unsettling pieces I've ever read.  In fact, it is so different that I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  To be sure, it was brilliant.  And it was wonderfully written.  I cannot remember the last time I've been so focused on the writing style; the types of sentences, their lengths....It was a fascinating read just from that aspect alone.  And there is so much more than the sentence structure!

During the entire reading, I could not help but feel that I was enjoying an evening with a sociopath.  While not outwardly crazy, there was something unnerving about this narrator, and while I could never quite put my finger on it, I felt it might have something to do with his tone, his mood, and his reactions to various events.  Told by anyone else, this story could have had feelings and emotion; it could have been sad or anxious or distraught.  But, instead, it was detached and distant.  It felt like watching the narrator through a pane of glass, while at the same time, he watched the narration unfold through a foggy haze, like in a dream.  Such an unusual experience.  But, such a fascinating book.

Since Camus wrote in French, a translation was obviously required.  And I would recommend the translation I used: Matthew Ward did a fine job; many times, translations are difficult to read because they do not flow right, or feel false.  This was a wonderful translation.  It was easy to read, felt authentic, and was highly engrossing.


  1. Good review! I'm impressed that you finished it already! I guess it is a pretty short book.
    If you found The Stranger to be interesting, sometime you should read A Clockwork Orange.
    It has a similar feel, and is also very dependent on its unique narration and writing style.

  2. I will find that YouTube video.

  3. Robby, I've managed to have quite a bit of downtime this past week or so, and polishing off a short, but engaging book like that was super easy for me :) I just couldn't put it down!

    Adding Clockwork Orange to the list...

    And Chess, I would LOVE to see this video :)

  4. I Love Stranger. I can remember when I read that I just compared myself to Morso and looked for any similarities! People like Morso are not much. They have their ideal way of life.Those who are going to be victims because of their honesty!


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