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Albert Camus: A Life

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  373 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In this enormously engaging, vibrant, and richly researched biography of Albert Camus, the French writer and journalist Olivier Todd has drawn on personal correspondence, notebooks, and public records never before tapped, as well as interviews with Camus's family, friends, fellow workers, writers, mentors, and lovers.

Todd shows us a Camus who struggled all his life with ir
ebook, 468 pages
Published September 7th 2011 by Knopf (first published January 1st 1996)
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1913–2013 A hundred years of Albert Camus, an artist.

Camus had often told friends that nothing is more scandalous than the death of a child, and nothing more absurd than to die in a car accident.

Narrative inevitability…

I am not a biography reader generally, and I try to avoid too much authorial back-story, and the variety of literary criticism that aggressively privileges the author’s ‘life-narrative’ (as it is pushed by another author or group of authors…) as a means for considering his work ir
Oct 18, 2013 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Olivier Todd creates a portrait of Albert Camus that is so vividly alive that when the grimly inevitable happens, as it must - seven pages from the end - it still comes as a shock, even though you knew to expect it.

Benjamin Ivry's translation occasionally betrays the text's origins in French when he strays into the (to use his own word) unidiomatic: at one point he has Camus say that he has been [critically] "killed from behind" where I might have said "stabbed in the back", but on the whole it
Jul 27, 2010 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book about the life of Albert Camus, author of The Stranger, The Plague, etc. I found the book delivered very interesting facts about Camus and was very happy to have read it!! If you are interested about his life, and his books then do yourself a favor and read it!!!!
Marietta Livada
Mar 13, 2014 Marietta Livada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Πολύ δυνατή βιογραφία, σοβαρή και εμπεριστατωμένη, αντιμετωπίζει σοβαρά τον Καμύ, όχι με στείρο θαυμασμό, αλλά σαν μια πολύπλευρη προσωπικότητα. Με έκανε να θέλω να ξαναδιαβάσω όσα βιβλία του έχω διαβάσει ήδη και να διαβάσω όσα δεν έχω διαβάσει ακόμα.
Ryan Williams
May 24, 2013 Ryan Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly readable biography of the only Nobel Prize Winner who was also a decent goalie. It gives you the man, the work, the time he wrote in, and how they all intersected. Pays a worthy amount of attention to the journalism and essays, too.
May 13, 2009 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book invites its reader into the mind and life of the great writer, Camus. I first became fascinated with his ideas and writings after reading the Myth of Sisyphus. While this book broaches one of the darkest subjects available for discussion, it did not strike me so much as a philosophical book; in my mind, it is more of a great piece of art. He did not lay out a set of propositions, or a particular theory; nor did he claim the truth to rest on one ideal. It is simply a great piece of writ ...more
Noura Khalil
May 05, 2015 Noura Khalil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I have always loved everything about you. Even what I didn’t understand.
And I have always known that, at heart, I would have you no different. But most people don’t know how to love. Nothing is enough for them. They must have their dreams. It’s the only thing they do well. Dreaming. They dream up obligations. New ones every day. They long for undiscovered countries, fresh demands, another call. While some of us are left with the knowledge that love can never wait. A shared bed, a hand in yours,
May 08, 2011 Mirie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive and well-written biography of a great man.
Chris Blakesley
Aug 07, 2010 Chris Blakesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the book. Love Camus.
Roger DeBlanck
Aug 10, 2015 Roger DeBlanck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In this comprehensive and unembellished biography, Olivier Todd chronicles Camus’ life as one of constant hardship, even amongst the great success he achieved. Todd makes clear Camus’ personal physical suffering due to poor health brought on by a bout of tuberculosis in early adulthood and his mental anguish due to constant devotion towards a fastidious moral belief that set him in opposition with Satre and a variety of other figures from both the right and the left wings of politics and philoso ...more
Oct 02, 2013 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Camus is one of the great characters of 20th Century literature. The Stranger, The Plague and The Fall remain some of the most popular novels to read among the cognoscenti. And among those who were interested in literature in university, who didn't read at least one of his more philosophical essays like The Myth of Sysyphus. Though many will complain Camus' philosophical work is simplistic, the powerful emotional impact of his ideas remains to this day. Like Hemmingway, another novelist and shor ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Alain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read his Malraux, and wondered if he could so as well for a much more sympathetic Camus. He did.
This was a fine biography of Camus, but it is a bit long (and it's even abridged from the French version!), and does not go too deeply into the philosophy of Camus. Good to have around for reference, though, and did give some insight.
Ron Stafford
Aug 16, 2014 Ron Stafford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great bio about this great author, who is my favorite author.
Alice Verberne
Oct 31, 2012 Alice Verberne rated it really liked it
I am interested in Camus because my husband's family was also born in Algeria and I wanted to learn more about the author before reading his work. Olivier Todd was lucky to be able to interview so many of Camus's colleagues, friends and relatives that you know what letters he wrote and what items were in packages he mailed. The attention to detail is truly astonishing. With the insight I now have about the author, I will truly enjoy his works of art and philosophy.
Apr 01, 2010 Darryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Albert Camus: A Life is an uneven biography, which provides very little critical analysis of Camus' writings and philosophy, and overemphasizes his numerous affairs, marital problems, and petty squabbles with Sartre, de Beauvoir and other writers. The best parts of the book are its discussions of the creation of L'Etranger and La Peste, but most of the rest of the book was trivial and a chore to read.
Valquiria García
La vida de Alberto Camus fue un viaje maravilloso a través de los sueños y anhelos más profundos que acompañan a muchos seres humanos; fue un hombre que experimentó y soñó, que se arriesgó y comprendió hasta plasmar en sus libros enseñanzas sin parangón. Conocer su vida, es comprender en plenitud su obra y el significado detrás de ésta.
J. Dunn
A solid, fair-minded and enlightening biography of Camus. I could have stood for a little more literary criticism and examination of his place in the culture at large, but otherwise I can’t complain much at all.
Sep 05, 2007 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: camus
What is here is decent, but if you can read French, read the French edition: this English translation has chopped a five star French text in half.
ماهر Battuti
Jul 27, 2012 ماهر Battuti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-documented biography of the great writer and philosopher. It shed new lights on his life that I did not know before. Recommended.
Sep 05, 2007 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: camus
Perhaps the best bio of Camus; certainly the most personal.
Jan 17, 2009 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Camus. This is a fine biography.
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“[Camus] "The meaning if my works: so many men are deprived of mercy. How to live without mercy? One must try and do what Christianity never did: to take care of the damned.” 2 likes
“[As part of Camus' refusal to debate his political enemies publicly after their vitriolic responses to the publication of 'The Rebel'] At this point, the least sentence I might say will be used in a way that disgusts me in advance. ... It would be impossible for me in that case to continue expressing myself with academic politeness. I am mistaken for a deliberately polite man whom one may insult in all safety.” 1 likes
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