Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Outsider by Albert Camus (5/5) [re-read]

First published: 1942
Original title: L’Étranger
Original language: French
Translation to English by: Joseph Laredo, 1982
Page count: 119

The back says: Albert Camus’ laconic masterpiece about a Frenchman who murders an Arab in colonial Algeria is famous for diagnosing a state of alienation and spiritual exhaustion which summed up the mood of the mid-twentieth century. Today, more than fifty years after its first appearance, we can see that the success of this Existentialist classic was no passing fashion. One of the most influential books of the century, The Outsider continues to speak to us of ultimate things with the force of the parable and the excitement of a thriller.

In other words: The Outsider (also known as The Stranger) starts off with Meursault going to bury his mother, whom he has put in a home. Once there he doesn’t cry or show much emotion. The following day he goes swimming and then the cinema with his girlfriend. A while later he finds himself on a beach where he unfortunately shoots and kills a man.

I say: I re-read this for the fifth time for my Literature and Existentialism uni course and, as per usual, love love love it. I wrote a review in 2011 and I’m about to start writing my analysis, so my mind is in a serious dissection mode right now, and I don’t want to go too far into it here.

I do feel the need to address that the difference between the past four reads and this one, is that for the first time I didn’t find anything lacking between the trial and the end. Perhaps this is because I’ve been studying so much about existentialism and the absurd, or perhaps it’s just a change in me. Either way, I find that I now, yet again, understand Meursault better than ever; and I love that feeling of getting deeper and deeper into his psyche while dissecting his words and actions.
I really need to start buying all the different translations and compare/analyse them.

So yeah, 5/5 for this superb masterpiece that I urge absolutely everyone to read, and now I am off to shall write my essay.

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