Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review- The Stranger by Albert Camus


The Stranger by Albert Camus was a bizarrely interesting read much like The Plague which I read a couple years ago. This book is shorter and more direct and more popular of the two. It was terribly frustrating at times to read because of the main character's total inertia and apathy towards everything. I just felt like grabbing and shaking him, something someone actually does in the book. In the book Meursault is frequently described as cold and inhuman because of his lack of emotion which makes me question the constructs of emotion and how much of expressed emotion is what people are really feeling versus expressing what people expect them to express.
Meursault doesn't consider any of life's trivialities to have any importance and refuses to give them any of his time yet he so greatly enjoys the simple pleasure of living. He lives and is content with it; he knows he's going to die and it still content.
I really enjoyed the end of the book where all the meaty existentialism can be found despite not at all being a fan of philosophy. 4/5
" "But, " I reminded myself, "it's common knowledge that life isn't worth living, anyhow." And, on a wide view, I could see that it makes little difference whether one dies at the age of thirty or threescore and ten- since, in either case, other men and women will continue living, the world will go on as before. Also, whether I died now or forty years hence, this business of dying had to be got through, inevitably."
" "No! No! I refuse to believe it. I'm sure you've often wished there was an afterlife." Of course I had, I told him. Everybody has that wish at times. But that had no more importance than wishing to be rich, or to swim very fast, or to have a better-shaped mouth. It was in the same order of things."
I strongly agree with that last quote in fact.

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