The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school literature courses) in part because it reveals so vividly the anxieties of its time. Alienation, the fear of anonymity, spiritual doubt--all could have been given a purely modern inflection in the hands of a lesser talent than Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 and was noted for his existentialist aesthetic. The remarkable trick of The Stranger, however, is that it's not mired in period philosophy.
The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial's proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities--that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother's death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts--so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.
Meursault remains a cipher nearly to the story's end--dispassionate, clinical, disengaged from his own emotions. "She wanted to know if I loved her," he says of his girlfriend. "I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn't mean anything but that I probably didn't." There's a latent ominousness in such observations, a sense that devotion is nothing more than self-delusion. It's undoubtedly true that Meursault exhibits an extreme of resignation; however, his confrontation with "the gentle indifference of the world" remains as compelling as it was when Camus first recounted it. --Ben Guterson
I was very impressed. Camus writes in a very first-person, in-the-protagonist's-head sort of style, omitting dialogue, nevertheless conveying incredible depth. His protagonist is compelling as a character. The setting was simple, the story was somewhat short (read in one evening), though very rich, weighty, and full. It made me want to write a review for it, and I don't usually do that.
Easily one of my favorite books. It was required reading in my high school French class, and so I struggled through it, of course missing most of the meaning. I picked up the English translation a few years later. This time I was left with a raw feeling inside, now better understanding Meursault. It's hard to describe the appeal of the book, but it has definitely been an eye-opener for me, in more ways than one.
This is my favorite book alltime. Great how Camus interweaves his philosophy with the story of a man who doesn't belong. It makes us question wether someone can be judge by standards that are foreign to him.
I hated, hated, hated this book. It came highly recommended and I voluntarily (and rather enthusiastically) picked it up. There has never been a main character I have been more disgusted by, a storyline that has been less interesting, and a writing style that has been more obnoxious. I would burn it if it were anything other than a book.
Thankfully, the beauty of books is that like people, you won't love every one you come across. So I hope you're one of the many who WILL enjoy this -- because I am vastly outnumbered! :)
The Stranger is a book that I sometimes had a difficult time reading because of how strongly it hit me. This book raises a lot of philosophical questions about the meaning of existence and also what it means to be a "stranger" and how we should react to those who are different.
The voice of the main character Meursault was a joy to read. He was very obviously separated from normal human emotion and the people around him; preferring to focus on the inconsequential and not letting expectations affect him. I could not necessarily relate to him, but I could appreciate his point of view enough to realize that he was a victim of his society and the "norms" within. I felt very close to Meursault, and I think that this is why he works. Although he is so different from me, I can see a lot of myself and my fears in him.
Finally, the ending of this novel was simply perfect. This idea of the gentle indifference of the world and how it relates to Meursault's story resonated with me so much that I just can't even.
What is there not to like that's written by Albert Camus? The dark side of humanity is revealed in its simple banality in The Stranger, and without the use of precocious, verbose prose. Camus is a great writer.
This book was...not what I expected. The style is so unusual and so straight forward and brusque. I think it does a really good job of helping us to get inside Meursault's head, but I don't know if I like it. I also don't know what I expected from this book but what I got definitely wasn't it. But I liked it. I think? I dunno. I had a lot of weird non-feelings about this book, I guess because it didn't really make me feel much of anything and usually books make me really feel a lot of things. And it was weird to feel pretty meh about any book at all. Anyway, I think it was alright. It was entertaining, and I was curious to see how it ended. It kept me turning pages, and after a little bit of research on Camus, I did understand the absurdist view he was going for, I just don't think it was as amazing as everyone seems to make it out to be.
I especially enjoyed Marie and Salamano. Salamano was an interesting taste of reality in a silly setting. The idea of loving a dog as much as you hate it is something I can understand, even if it was taken to the extreme here. Marie was incredibly sweet, realistic, and entertaining. She was by far the best part of the book.
I think by the end, I was supposed to have taken a great, enlightening journey, understood Meursault's thought process, blah, blah, you know. I really didn't get it. It was good, but I'm afraid I only understand this on the basest level.
This is the most rambling review of all time. Ugh.
I hated this book. I read for a college class and it couldn't be done fast enough. The plot, the characters, the writing style, ug. It was written like Dick and Jane with amoral characters.
I know it is a classic but there are so many more out there worthy of the title.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn just for a couple of choices.
A perfect example of society, a silent tyrant, at work. A man, perhaps an introvert, deals with grief in his own way. Yet, society judges and condemns him (the whole person) according to its norms for a single event. Awesome and haunting story of the universality of the mundane.
This is a very intriguing book and makes for a lot of reflection when you finish reading it. The beginning is a very easy and interesting read. The last part of the book is very deep and challenging. I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in a thought-provoking read that will stay with you forever.
This is the story of a quite ordinary man who is content with his quite ordinary life. When his employer asks if he would like a change and move to Paris to work in a new branch of the business he says it doesn't matter as he is quite content with his life as it is. But life has a way of throwing curves at people sometimes and this little man finds himself quite unexpectedly committing a murder. He is, of course, arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. The story began with this little man attending the funeral of his mother. Like his mother, he thinks, he is quite ready for the next stage - death. What an interesting and memorable little story!