Davide di Cagno-Hagen's Reviews > The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus
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Apr 03, 08

Recommended to Davide by: My Mom
Recommended for: Everyone
Read in February, 2008

** spoiler alert ** When I was first handed a copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus, I was apprehensive about it. Most of what I had heard was that it was "absurdist fiction" and all these terms which at the time, I felt pretentious (now knowing better). In January, I wanted to read something short after having spent time reading longer novels, thus at 130 pages, this seemed like a likely candidate. The first night I read the first 50 pages, and finished it the next day.
The book is about Meursault, a young Algerian whose mother dies very early on in the novel. He goes to her memorial, where he spends the night. The novel goes on to describe his relationship with a woman in the neighborhood. One day they decide to go to their friend's beach house. While there, Meursault and his friend run into a group of Arab teenagers who Meursault's friend has problems with. The glare and each other and keep walking. Later, after lunch, Meursault goes out by himself while the others are napping. He takes his friends gun, which was never explained. As he's walking he comes up on one of the Arabs sleeping. Without any explanation, he murders the sleeping man. The rest of the book goes into his imprisonment and trial. The trial is extremely important in the book because the lead prosecutor claims the murder was premeditated because Meursault showed insensitivity on the day of his mother's death. He is sentenced to death by guillotine. The final chapter of the book is dedicated to his thoughts of the execution and the existence of God. The story ends with the bold quote:

"As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself — so like a brother, really — I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."

I enjoyed this book very much. I loved how it was written and the language. The short span of life we see of Meursault was great. I generally agree that this is one of the greatest books I've ever read. A must read.
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Ryan "The final chapter of the book is dedicated to his thoughts of the execution and the existence of God."

The last chapter definitely is about his thoughts on the execution, but I wouldn't say it had much to do with the existence of God. Meursault seems to have rejected the idea a very long time before even the beginning of the book.

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