Thursday, January 18, 2007


The Stranger

I quite enjoyed this book. It's the first Camus I've read (I've read about Camus, but never read any of his actual writing before). There is not much in the way of quotations that I can really extract from this book, because of the style in which it is written (of course, it is a translation from the original French, but apparently the translator took pains to maintain the orginal style as much as possible). You really just need to read the whole book to appreciate it and so I can't just extract a bunch of quotations the way I usually do (there were a few, just not any many as say, all the Douglas Adams books I've been reading of late... Adams and Camus both do wonderful things with language, just in totally different ways)..

There was a lengthy introduction to the book explaining what you are supposed to be getting out of it. I'm always hesitant about whether to read these before or after I read a book - should I just read the book itself and appreciate it on its own merits before I read what others think of it? Or should I read the introduction first so that I am thinking about things that it might be good for me to be aware of while I read it (rather than reading the book, reading the intro and then needing to read the book all over again to pick up on all the stuff I missed the first time through). In this case, I chose to read the introduction first and there were a few interesting points in there that I felt were worth recording:

And now a few quotations from the novel itself:

According to Wikipedia, that vast repository of all the knowledge in the world, The Stranger is a book that George W. Bush was yammering on about having read and then having discussed the origins of existentialism. And Jon Stewart deftly pointed out the humour of Bush "reading a book about a westerner killing an Arab and feeling no remorse." You go Jon!

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Stuart Gilbert. New York, A. A. Knopf, 1946.

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Now this is a phenomenal book. Quite possibly one of the most important pieces in existentialism in literature. I love how Monsieur Mersault places value on petty things that he considers important like smoking, but can't seem to feel about issues that normal people consider important. I can't help but feel a bit like him at times. *shrug*
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