The Stranger The Fall - and Author:Albert Camus (Transl. Matthew Ward, Justin O'Brien) In these short novels Albert Camus provides two brilliant variations on one of his constant themes--that each of us is alone and yet defined by the world around us. The Stranger (in French, L'Etranger, or The Outsider), Camus's first novel, was published in 1942, during the Nazi occupation of France. The title character, Meursault, remains one ... more »of literature's most memorable exemplars of alienation. Acting on an impulse he himself does not understand, Meursault becomes a spectator to his own destruction while refusing to accept any moral responsibility for his actions. Set in the towns and on the beaches of the Algerian coast, with the heat of the sun becoming an almost palpable character in the drama, The Stranger produces within its concise narrative an impact rivaled only by Dostoevsky's greatest works.
The Fall (in French, La Chute), written over a decade after The Stranger, contrasts strikingly with the earlier work. Here Camus tells how the chance encounter of two French lawyers in an Amsterdam bar leads to a strange confession--of hypocrisy and theft; of self-indulgence and self-flagellation. The witty, arrogant narrator, Clamence, becomes his own savage prosecutor, yet gradually weaves a web of complicity that entangles his companion and the reader as well. Thus the inarticulate Meursault of The Stranger and the eloquent Clamence are brothers of a sort, each alone in a world he cannot control, yet defiantly--and desperately--seeking to define himself. To read these books together is to experience the universality of Camus's vision.« less