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The Stranger
The Stranger
Author: Albert Camus
A short novel about an ordinary little man living quietly in Algiers. Life begins to stalk him quietly and slowly, but inexorably. The pace quickens until the little man commits a pointless murder-ans reaches its climax after his trial. The Stranger presents an indelible picture of a human being helpless in life's grip.
ISBN: 22999
Pages: 154
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.

2.5 stars, based on 1 rating
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Stranger on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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
SeanP avatar reviewed The Stranger on
Helpful Score: 3
This was a good book especially if you are interested in philosophy....Its good existentialist literature... it raises the basic questions of good and evil, innocence and guilt,and it also raises the question of meaning and worth. It gets you thinking about how you live your life. The Stranger also gets you thinking about the role of reason and consciousness in human nature. Its a good philosophical read.
shuffdog avatar reviewed The Stranger on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed The Stranger on + 134 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
a terrifying picture of a man victimized by life itself-he is a faceless man, who has committed a pointless murder-it is a book whose unrelenting grip upon our consciousness has not diminished to this day.
reviewed The Stranger on
Helpful Score: 2
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.
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reviewed The Stranger on + 12 more book reviews
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.
mygraymorning avatar reviewed The Stranger on + 62 more book reviews
I really wanted to like Meursault (the protagonist), but eventually I realized that he was fatally flawed. I had to read this book for an existential film and literature class, and I am so glad I did.
katiebratt avatar reviewed The Stranger on + 105 more book reviews
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.
cornbreaddelicious avatar reviewed The Stranger on + 12 more book reviews
I read this because The Cure wrote a song "Killing an Arab" based on this novella. It was quick and interesting read. An absurd window into actions and consequences. Reads like a Wes Anderson movie(Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling Limited).
reviewed The Stranger on + 22 more book reviews
This book is odd yet intriguing. I had a hard time putting it down. The main character is quite apathetic through most of the book until he finally realizes that life had been more real than he'd admitted. The main character spends most of the book taking life and people for granted while caring little for anyone or anything. This book also demonstrates how seemingly meaningless actions can result in drastic ends with encouragement from the right set of circumstances. This book definitely makes the reader realize that every action matters.