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The Plague

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  156,320 ratings  ·  6,610 reviews
A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times. In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents ...more
Paperback, First Vintage International Edition, 308 pages
Published March 1991 by Vintage International (first published June 1947)
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Omar I started to read Stuart Gilbert's translation and forced my way through 40% of the book when I finally had put it down (I might be a bit of a masochi…moreI started to read Stuart Gilbert's translation and forced my way through 40% of the book when I finally had put it down (I might be a bit of a masochist?). But yeah, I don't recommend his translation. The mistakes in the grammar are constant and disrupts the flow of one's reading. My apologies for not being able to recommend a good translation but I at least wanted to warn you against this one translation.(less)
Maanka Chipindi It has a good and profound ending.

Here is the quote

And, indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux remembered that such jo…more
It has a good and profound ending.

Here is the quote

And, indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.(less)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Read The Plague free here. Coronovirus is the name of the 21stC plague. If you don't know what existentialism is, reading this and relating to the world we have today and how it's looking for the next week, month and perhaps even longer, will show you. Coronavirus has no favourites, everyone's in line to catch it, it's just a wrong-place-at-the-right-time disease. Some will die, and there won't be any huge funerals and memorial services either. Eventually there may be mass funerals, unattended a ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Albert Camus’ The Plague is a laugh RIOT!

Just kidding, it is about the bubonic plague, really not very funny at all.

However, it is a modern masterpiece of allegory, symbolism and imagery. The surface story is about plague in the early 1940s visiting the Algerian coastal city of Oran. While Camus tells a complete tale of disease, fear, despair, compassion and selfless heroism; the story of lasting significance is told between the lines with insightful observations and thought provoking disserta
Ah, death; it's always there, isn't it? It is a terrible fate, doomed upon us all, that could take place at any time, in millions of different ways. The Jews who witnessed the holocaust are aware of this. The people of Haiti know this. The mother who lost her only child in a car accident is aware of this. Most individuals (and groups of individuals) spend their days fighting the fact of death, lying to themselves, using clever ways to avoid its ever-present reality. Looking death in its cold, in ...more
If you lived in an ordinary community quite unexpectedly facing an existential stress test, what would you do?

How would you deal with the situation, and which character traits of yours would all of a sudden come to the surface? How would you treat your friends, neighbours and fellow citizens? What would you do to change the situation?

These questions have been haunting me ever since I first read “La Peste” in school, over two decades ago. I have reread it since then, with the same fascination,
Ahmad Sharabiani
559. La Peste = The Plague, Albert Camus
The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. The characters in the book, ranging from doctors to vacationers to fugitives, all help to show the effects the plague has on a populace. The Plague is considered an existentialist classic despite Camus' objection to th
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

"...that a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one’s work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart."

Well this book about human resilience in the face of horror/sickness/plague was WORK for me. I found myself having to read and re-read sections as this book is not just a book but a social, political, philosophical commentary. I found myself thinking "huh? what did
J.L.   Sutton
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
“But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all.”

Evidently, it wasn't enough for me to read about global pandemics in the works of Kurt Vonnegut or Margaret Atwood. Albert Camus' The Plague isn't about a future apocalyptic world, but the quarantine and death by disease of citizens in the Algerian city of Oran. Camus' plague is more about the human condition and the existential crisis posed by the disease. Even if the plague also represents a Nazi occupation (as some claim), there is s
Jim Fonseca
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-authors

Somehow Camus brings humanism, optimism and the role of love to a depressing story of bubonic plaque in 1940’s Oran, Algeria. First all the rats die and then we go from there. After much bureaucratic bungling and delays, the city is cut off from the outside world by quarantine. A lot of the focus of the story is on those separated by chance from loved ones for several months. There is intrigue as some plot to escape the town. But mainly a dreary perseverance and indifference takes over many in t
Rakhi Dalal
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read “The Plague” right after reading “Swann’s Way”. Of course it wasn’t a deliberate move. But as I moved on, I realized that reading of ‘The Plague’ had rendered something quite remarkable in the way I realized and appreciated both works. Both works embody a reality. ‘Swann’s Way’ speaks of the reality that is long gone by and one wish to remember and cherish, whereas, ‘The Plague’ makes one more acutely aware of the bleakness of actual reality when imposed through an epidemic such as plague ...more
David Schaafsma
3/19/20 As my village on the edge of a big city faces a "shelter-in" injunction, as Covid 19 steadily intensifies, I thought of this book. As I take my daily runs/walks people are friendlier, offering to help each other, barriers feel at times as if they are breaking down in certain ways here and there, and then when we went to the store there s the hoarding and some ugliness already. . . and it's just really beginning here.

The Plague: Resistance and Activism for This or Any Time

“I have no idea
Samra Yusuf
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Humankind is always been haunted by the idea of oblivion, the mere thought of being forgotten, the inkling of being swiped out of the face of earth, from memory, from hearts of those who were held close, strikes us down like an old rotten sapling, that didn’t see the good days of opulence, nor was given the sun enough, so couldn’t grow to become a tree. Death seems to be a farfetched long-talked idea, an unpleasant episode others went through and never happened to us, an equivocal dot of a thoug ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The plague is a literal epidemic of the modern Bubonic Plague that sweeps through a town in Algeria.

And it is also figurative and symbolic - the African town, the colonial remnant of Oran, is “sealed off” as a result (as political powers seal us off nowadays, from obtrusive and disturbing Truth?) in a collective slumber of despair.

Sound familiar?

But guess what... within its sealed demesne, good men are doing active and physically-engaged Good Things within the vibrant frame of a new kind of po
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Second reading. This is an essential book. If there's a canon, The Plague belongs in it. A few things interested me this time through. Mostly the narrator's penchant, most effective, for writing about the town's collective mood. This device struck me as an improvement on the Soviet worker novels of the day (1947). The prose is not pumped up to triumphalist proportions. (There must be a scholar somewhere who's addresses this. I'll have to search LC.) Neither is there an idealized superman worker ...more
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to ruminate on life, morality and religion.
This book has been one of the most influential in my life. Camus uses the premise of a town infected by the plague and quarantined from the rest of the world to explore some of the great philosophical questions. I find his exploration of religion very astute--that God is either not able to prevent evil and is thus not omnipotent or that God is all powerful and thus condones evil. Either option to Camus is a God not worthy of worship.

Many people read The Stranger and think Camus is a pessimist,
Luís C.
April 194.., The Plague settles in Algeria in the city of Oran, everyday mortal cases multiply. Yet the prefecture is slow to make the declaration of "the state of the plague" because it does not want to worry public opinion. But after a few weeks, in the face of the emergency, the prefect ordered the city gates to be closed.
Oran is isolated, separated and cut off from the rest of the world, the inhabitants become "prisoners of The Plague", the city resembles a condemned to death.
The epidemic p
Jr Bacdayan
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago, back when I was a freshman in University, I read and reviewed The Stranger by Albert Camus. Being quite the optimistic and impressionable young lad that I was, the resolute bleakness of the book left a bad taste in my mouth. I was then filled with eagerness and vigor for life stemming from this new found independence afforded by higher education. I wanted no part of the apathetic darkness enshrouding Mersault and rejected any shred of wisdom the book presented. I called it poiso ...more
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When rats.....large grotesque rats begin dying everywhere across the coastal town of Oran in Northern Africa, an uneasy, but unheeded feeling among the townspeople gradually becomes reality with questions turning to fear and subsequent fever causing widespread panic.

As quarantines and sudden isolation from the outside world become a fact of life, our mild-mannered and selfless protagonist, Dr. Bernard Rieux maintains his cool despite exhaustion and the pestilence surrounding his long days.


"Treeless, glamourless, soulless, the town of Oran ends by seeming restful and, after a while, you go complacently to sleep there."

The Plague is set in Oran, a city in Algeria that experiences a breakout of the Bubonic plague, and is soon placed under quarantine. We witness the changes among this community as they are cut off from the outside world; they experience all manners of emotions from hysteria, despondency, avarice, uncertainty,self-reflection and fear.

The Plague is definitely a depre
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great piece of literature, very important for the current pandemic situation that the world is facing, but has relevance for all times in human history, as it was said - plague never really goes away.

I see the plague as a symbol od inevitability of human suffering - crisis, sickness, torture, death that can come up at any moment, at any time. That is existential vulnerability that we as humans have to live with, thought out all ages.
But in face of collective adversity, we have the ability to c
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fav-authors
I read this book into the night, a stubborn reader determined to torture herself with the despondency that lurks throughout this novel. I tuned into the feeling that exudes a person's futile attempt to escape and I could feel the helplessness of the characters in each breath I inhaled, in the overwhelming elucidation of exile spread across each page. I was reminded a bit of Saramago's Death at Intervals, except that I preferred the flow of this one.
Thus, in a middle course between these heights
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Plague is yet another book that I liked, despite the inability to fully understand the underlying themes. I finally comprehend that it is not necessary to understand a story to like it. Strange but it is true. Now I'm sounding philosophical myself. It cannot be helped. Reading philosophical fiction back to back can have an impression on your thinking!

The story is about a plague that wraps the city of Oran, isolating the city completely from the outside world. Cut off from the world, parted f
The Plague is one of my favourite novels of 2019. My head is buzzing from all the proffered ideas, and the story and writing are excellent too. I also loved the fact that the stranded opera company kept performing Orpheus and Eurydice* Perfect!

Anything else that I might say about this outstanding novel is bound to be trite nonsense. Fortunately there are many splendid reviews of it.
Although I have read L’étranger/The Outsider in both French and English I forgot what a brilliant author Albert
Mark André
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-lit
A good read. Simple, quiet, thoughtful prose.
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sartre
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Life is brief... Camus knew this and had the fact proved first hand when he was smooshed in a car accident at the relatively young age of 46. Death is coming people and nothing can stop it. But the question is, do you ignore this fact and live in a kind of blissful fluffy world where it seems nothing can go wrong? Or do you pre-emptively stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye?

Some have argued that Camus should have stuck to journalism, being a politically aware bad-ass and
Greg Watson
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The immediacy of death is the most striking feature of The Plague. Camus strips away the abstractions and sentimentality that we might have in viewing death. Some may die peacefully. Other may die with a vengeance, fighting even at their last moments.

As the plague in the story begins to claim lives, its residents are forced to witness the deaths of even young children. The character of Father Paneloux reminds the residents of Oran that they "must trust in the divine goodness, even as to the deat

But, you know, I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints. Heroism and sanctity don't really appeal to me, I imagine. What interests me is being a man.

In The plague Camus creates a metaphorical image of the world wrestling with evil, whose symbol is the title plague devastating Oran in 194 .. year; author deliberately does not specify the exact year, presented events may have occurred in every time. It could be war. Or earthquake. Or serious illness. Or famine. It could be som
"It comes to this," Tarrou said almost casually; "What interests me is learning how to become a saint."
"But you don't believe in God."
"Exactly! Can one be a saint without God? - that's the problem, in fact the only problem, I'm up against today"

The Plague marks a significant change in Camus' view of ethics, and life itself, from The Stranger. Probably his best novel.

In The Thought and Art of Albert Camus, Thomas Hanna writes
The plague is evil and sin is giving in to this evil. Tarrou, in speak
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-e-books
Very understated, impersonal, plain writing, that drives the universal themes home.
Deeply human and showing a believe in the overall good of humanity, without closing eyes to our weaker instincts. - 4 stars

All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it's up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences.

A compelling and surprisingly quick classic in these strange times.
The Plague reads like a fever dream.

The story of Oran is quite si
David Sarkies
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark
Prisoner of the Pandemic
11 April 2020

When I told my friend that I was reading this book, his response was ‘why am I not surprised’. Honestly, I was sitting at my computer, swinging my computer chair around and looking at the collection of books on the bookshelf that are composed of books that I have read, and I saw The Plague sitting there, almost screaming out to me. Yeah, so I decided to grab it, put it on my coffee table where I have my morning cup of tea, and made it the next book that I wa
Nov 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, life-is-camus
For some reason, I didn't like La Peste nearly as much I had expected. In fact, I found it pretentious and annoying. Maybe I should re-read it... I have a feeling I missed something. My thoughts during the first reading were that he was way too pleased with himself for having been a hero of the Resistance, and that I no longer found it very odd that Sartre had had a major falling out with him which ended with them no longer speaking to each other.

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Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university care ...more

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