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The First Man
Albert Camus
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The First Man

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,875 Ratings  ·  255 Reviews
In The First Man Albert Camus tells the story of Jacques Cormery, a boy who lived a life much like his own. Camus summons up the sights, sounds, and textures of a childhood circumscribed by poverty and a father's death yet redeemed by the austere beauty of Algeria and the boy's attachment to his nearly deaf-mute mother. The result is a moving journey through the lost lands ...more
Published August 29th 1995 by Random House, Inc. (first published January 1st 1994)
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Jun 17, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was not what I expected. Due to the philosophical, melancholy nature of the first two Camus books I’ve read, (The Stranger and The Plague), I expected this book to be more academic, but it was far from it; it’s a more personal book, nostalgic, full of feelings and memories.

This book is considered to be an autobiographical novel, and its unedited manuscript was found in the car wreckage in which Camus was killed. Even for an unedited piece of work, it is simply a masterpiece. It was int
Jun 16, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Camus & readers who don't mind winding prose
Who knew I would be reading Camus' last novel as though it was his first? In this world of the passed away French-Algiers, the present and past are blurred, as a man recalls his childhood, and the voice of the third-person narrator is so close, it might as well be first-person. This harrowing account of a fatherless boy living in poverty is so pure that it's perfect in its stimulation. How can an author who grew so popular for his structural peculiarity in The Stranger, bring us such a completel ...more
Jim Fonseca
Apr 13, 2016 Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-authors
Basically an autobiography by Camus. The manuscript was found in the car when Camus died in a car crash in 1960, when he was 57, and just 3 years after he won the Nobel Prize. It’s clearly a draft with a lot of footnotes and other notes that that show a writer at work. (Change names; don’t use the real names; develop; illegible; add this; take out that.) Obviously it could use editing, but it’s a good book as is.

In an editor’s note we’re told the manuscript was not published until 1994 (by his
Leo Robertson
Feb 22, 2016 Leo Robertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adds an unexpected dimension to Camus' philosophy: that it was written by a regular guy whose daily worries, ponderings, misgivings and regrets found him just as much as ours find us. That's of course a major point of his philosophy, that inherent flaws in the machine make regrets, worries, mistakes and absolute communion between people impossible, but gone in this work is the darkly ironic facade. This time we find reassurance in that Camus is as he was basically trying to convince us he was an ...more
Henry Martin
It is not often that I struggle to find words; yet, this is one of those times. Reading this unfinished manuscript has left me without words to express how I feel about it. It's not a novel - it's a glimpse into the mind of a great man as he looks back on what was and what was not. It is a rare glimpse into his likes, dislikes, memories, relationships, upbringing, social settings... This 'novel' is full of inconsistencies, missing words, and notes. Nevertheless, such is life - impure, fragmented ...more
This begins my Camus’ Centenary year (he was born in 1913) reading list. I plan on reading even more widely than I have of his oeuvre this year, and revisiting some of his works, particularly if there’s a new translation I have not read. On the 7th of November, there will be a celebration at my house.

Now, reviewing a rescued-partial-first-draft manuscript turned into a book is a different kind of thing to other books. When you hover over the fifth star in Goodreads, it says ‘it was amazing’, so
Mohamad Yoosofi
این داستان نیمهکاره آخرین اثر آلبر کامو است که مرگ، به نویسنده فرصت نداده آن را به فرجام برساند. ظاهراً این اثر زندگینامهی خودنوشت نویسنده نیز هست و بر روایتهای آن، رنگی از واقعیت نمایان است. ماجراهای این داستان دربرگیرندهی زندگی شخصیت اصلی آن، ژاک کورمری، است از ابتدای تولد تا چهلسالگی؛ منتها بخش عمدهی آنچه کامو مجال نوشتنش را یافته، به دوران کودکی و نوجوانی و تجربههای آن برمیگردد؛ بهویژه رویدادهایی که در محیط مدرسه و جمع دوستان برای او رخ میدهد. در سرتاسر این داستان، در خلال هر چیزی که روایت م ...more
أغبط من عاشوا في النصف الاول من القرن الماضي الي ستيناته ...
فترة التقلبات و الثورات ..
وبزوغ الرؤى والافكار ...
أغبطهم أيضا لغنى الفترة بكثير من المبدعين ...الذين أتسمت أبدعاتهم بالثورة و النضج وتفرد كل منهم بفلسفة خاصه ...ورؤية تستحق الاحترام
ربما كان ألبير كامو من أعظم أفرازات هذا العصر
وروايته الانسان الاول (التي تعد أخر أعماله ) هي نتاج مخاض فكري عميق أمتاز بالوعي و تنقيح العديد من الافكار الطافية على السطح في هذا الوقت ...
الانسان الاول هي قصة طفل فرنسي نشأ في الجزائر و عرف أول ما عرف ان دولته
Reza ghavami
Feb 26, 2016 Reza ghavami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب آخرین اثر آلبر کاموست که بدلیل مرگش ناتمام موند ولی خواهرش به هرصورتی که بود اونو چاپ کرد بعد مرگ کامو،و اینکه در واقع این کتاب خود زندگی نویسندس از بچگی تا سن چهل سالگی که دوران کودکی و نوجوانیش رو خودش نوشته و از اونجا به بعد خواهرش اونو تکمیل کرده از طریق دست نوشته هایی که بعد مرگ کامو پیداکرده و قسمتی از این دست نوشته ها و نامه ها نیز آخر کتاب اورده شده و واقعا کتاب خوبیه و باز همون تقکرش رو دوباره کامو اومده صحبت کرده ولی اینبار زندگی خودشو توضیح داده و نوشته که چطور میشه فقیر بود ...more
Paul Martin
Oct 13, 2015 Paul Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015
Catherine Camus explains in the introduction that had her father lived to see the novel he was working on published, it would not be nearly as personal and revealing as this unfinished manuscript. I am of course not in any way glad that Camus died in the tragic way he did, but I honestly can't help but feel that it would have been a tremendous loss had this not been published.

I have read most of his novels, and while I like them all very much, I also suspect that if Camus lived until he was 100
Aug 13, 2014 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reading this latest "The First Man" (1995) "published thirty-five years after its discovery amid the wreckage of the car accident that killed its author" (back cover) is of course a bit disappointing due to its evidently unfinished story. Moreover, some of its generously-inserted footnotes have not fully clarified, I think, its readers to appreciate more, rather they seem to distract them into vaguely understandable information, for instance:

Three days ago they had finished over the Atlantic, …,
Jul 04, 2009 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of my favorite quotes:

-“There are people who vindicate the world, who help others live just by their presence” (35).

-“There is a terrible emptiness in me, an indifference that hurts” (36).
-“…dependence and necessity remain, and that is not far from resembling love” (222).
-“her son, endlessly, watched her in the shadows with a lump in his throat, staring at her thin bent back, filled with an obscure anxiety in the presence of adversity he could not understand” (228).
-“She embraced him, and t
'El primer hombre' es la novela inacabada que Canys estaba escribiendo cuando murió en un accidente de coche a los 46 años. Se trata también de su novela más autobiográfica, porque habla ni más ni menos de un niño francés que vive en Argel y que está avergonzado de la pobreza y la ignorancia de su familia, una familia formada por una madre medio sorda y ausente, una abuela autoritaria y un tío sordo, y sin padre porque murió en la primera guerra mundial cuando hacía poco que Camus había nacido. ...more
Dave Groff
Jan 25, 2013 Dave Groff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this long ago, but it is a favorite. A very different Camus, very warm and human. His final work, it makes one all the sadder that this great writer did not live longer.
I thought I had read all of Albert Camus's novels--turns out I was right and I was wrong. The First Man is an unfinished manuscript Camus was working on at the time of his death. It's fairly long for a book by Camus, but based on his notes, it would have been much longer in the final version.

Here we have a bildungsroman that is told from Jacques's perspective as a boy and, intermittently, as a 40-year-old man. The novel is written in great detail, all the peculiarities of being French in Algeria
Erika Dreifus
Albert Camus was a forty-six-year-old Nobel laureate in literature when he died in an automobile crash on January 4, 1960. Found amid the debris was an unfinished manuscript, one which remained unpublished until it appeared in France as Le Premier Homme in 1994.

Why the delay? In a compelling introduction to the American edition, Catherine Camus reminds readers of the mood in France in 1960, when her father's moral stances—particularly his open criticism of Soviet totalitarianism and his advocacy
Jun 19, 2011 Isabelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
I studied Camus in school, like all French schoolchildren. Apart from chosen excerpts that always pepper young readers' school anthologies, you tackle Camus in high school when you get to Existentialism in your history of French literature curriculum. Well, I remember clearly that I had liked Camus the best... I am not a fan of the Existentialist Posse, that is for sure... but Camus is different somehow, not sure if it the Algerian sun, the very modest origins... he is just so human, so vulnerab ...more
Jun 11, 2007 Lorena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Arguably my favorite book.
Theresa Leone Davidson
OK, the hubby has never heard me say, "One of the best I've ever read," but he heard it when I finished this. Camus' other books that I recently read, The Stranger and The Fall, were both good, worthy of the five star rating I gave them, but in comparison, this deserves ten stars. It is about a man (it is autobiographical, so it's about Camus himself) who returns to the Algerian neighborhood in which he grew up to see his mom, visit the grave of the father he never knew, and try to learn more ab ...more
Sep 29, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction
This is Camus's unfinished autobiographical novel that he was working on at his untimely death in a car accident in France in 1960. (Supposedly the manuscript was found in his briefcase at the scene.) It's the story of young Jacques Cormery, who never knew his father - he died in World War I when Jacques was an infant - being raised in extreme poverty in Algeria by his illiterate grandmother and illiterate, nearly deaf-mute mother (she has a vocabulary of 400 words). It's a moving, poignant, lyr ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about Camus and for anyone who enjoys his writing. The book was unfinished and in his daughter's introduction, reveals more of the writer than what typically appeared in a finished manuscript. Despite missing words, the writing is strong, centering on a few themes- Algeria, childhood, poverty and politics. Who else can write as succinctly and as empathetically as Camus (in first draft!), as in passages describing his family's outlook: " ...more
Noura Khalil
Feb 24, 2015 Noura Khalil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ديـــــنا العثامين
تتحدث عن فكرة الإنسان الذي يبحث عن اصله مرمزه بجاك وبحثه عن والده المتوفى

لم احبها ولا اعرف لماذا !
Elisabeth Jaffe
This book is interesting in that it not only describes one man's search for information about his father but also the writing process of an author. Camus died before he could complete this book and throughout there are footnotes describing parts of the book on which he wanted to expand. It also goes through the emotional stages of this man as he explores his father's life, a man he never knew.
César Salazar
Jul 12, 2015 César Salazar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: study, 2015
“Because,' Cormery went on, 'when I was very young, very foolish, and very much alone ... you paid attention to me and, without seeming to, you opened for me the door to everything I love in the world.”
― Albert Camus, The First Man
Kate Savage
The last words in the manuscript found in the wreckage of the crash that killed Camus at 46:

"an unalloyed passion for life confronting utter death; today he felt life, youth, people slipping away from him, without being able to hold on to any of them, left with the blind hope that this obscure force that for so many years had raised him above the daily routine, nourished him unstintingly, and been equal to the most difficult circumstances -- that, as it had with endless generosity given him reas
بسام عبد العزيز
ليس كامو كما أعرفه للأسف..
في حديثه عن سيرته الذاتية تحول هنا كامو إلى الأسلوب العاطفي بدلا من كامو المفكر الفيلسفي..
كثير من الوصف المبالغ فيه بشدة... كثير من التفاصيل الدقيقة التي لا تهمني (لا أمتلك خيالا قويا .. أفضل أن أرى الأشياء ملموسة أمامي لأعرفها)..
كانت القصة / السيرة الذاتية أشبه ما تكون بإعتذار أو مرثية رقيقة لوالدة كامو.. فهو يحاول تصوير مدى حنوها عليه و مدى تحملها للمشاق في سبيل تربيته خصوصا و أن والده توفي و هو طفل فلم يكن مؤثرا في حياة كامو كثيرا..

على أي حال لو كنت التقطت هذا الكتا
Aug 06, 2007 matt marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I think I'll be done with all of Camus' fiction after I read this.
Jan 18, 2016 Harald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fine autobiography camouflaged as a novel about a boy from a poor family growing up in Algiers in the 1910-20s, with adult reflections in the 1960s when France was about to give up its control of Algeria. The conflict between the French and the Arabs simmers in the background and threatens to destroy the world of Camus's mother. The book is based on an unfinished manuscript and includes the author's notes and ideas for further editing, which gives a fascinating insight into the writing process. ...more
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Albert Camus was an Algerian-born French author, philosopher, and journalist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He is often cited as a proponent of existentialism (the philosophy that he was associated with during his own lifetime), but Camus himself rejected this particular label. Specifically, his views contributed to the rise of the more current philosophy known as absurdis ...more
More about Albert Camus...

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“When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for misfortune.” 969 likes
“When I was young I asked more of people than they could give: everlasting friendship, endless feeling.

Now I know to ask less of them than they can give: a straightforward companionship. And their feelings, their friendship, their generous actions seem in my eyes to be wholly miraculous: a consequence of grace alone.”
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