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The Plague

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  225,402 ratings  ·  12,246 reviews
The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947.

It tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view.

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Paperback, 308 pages
Published March 1991 by Vintage International (first published June 10th 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
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Petra is off to Miami - book & art fairs & dates!
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 559 from 1001 books) - La Peste = The Plague, Albert Camus

The Plague 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
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,
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
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all.”

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.
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
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
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
Dave 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
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
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
April 194 .., The Plague settles in Algeria in Oran, and everyday mortal cases multiply. Yet the prefecture is slow to declare "the state of the plague" because it does not want to worry public opinion. But 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. As a result, the inhabitants become "prisoners of The Plague"; the city resembles a condemned to death.
The epidemic progresses. The pl
Mutasim Billah
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
“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.”

The city of Oran

What is life like during an epidemic? The answer, truly, is that human beings eventually make a habit of everything given the time and space to cope. And eventually they get used to death, to mourn silently, to treat the new sick and to quarantine the ones they were in contact with as if it

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
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
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
Michael Finocchiaro
One of the first books of modern literature I read in high school, The Plague (La Peste) is absolutely chilling and incredibly written. Camus uses a dry tone (somewhat like Cormac McCarthy's) and a nearly emotionless narrator to describe the catastrophe in Oran, Algeria. A classic and a monumental work of existentialism, it is perhaps a valid thing to read with Drumpf likely to kill research grants to public foundations for researching cures for diseases. It is interesting to recall that 19 MILL ...more
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Mark André
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good read. Simple, quiet, thoughtful prose.
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
"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
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.


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
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.

TBV (on hiatus)
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
Jo (The Book Geek)
"There have been as many plagues in the world as there have been wars, yet plagues and wars always find people equally unprepared"

I knew what I was letting myself in for here, hence the title, but damn this was grim, and it certainly wasn't an easy read. As early as when the description of the huge rats came about, I was actually sitting here and shuddering.
Once the plague is discovered in the quiet town of Oran, humans have no choice other than to face death head on. This is something no indivi
Steven Godin
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, france
Few writers kept their work as close to the subject of death as did Albert Camus, so it's little surprise The Plague's focal point is just that. Camus’ story is that of a group of men, defined by their gathering around and against the plague. In it we encounter the courage, fear, and calculation that we read or hear in other places in Africa, for example, the battle against Ebola.

Through the narrator, Dr Rieux, we can identify and understand why many other doctors went immediately to the plague’
Roy Lotz
Officialdom can never cope with something really catastrophic.

As with all of Camus’s books, The Plague is a seamless blend of philosophy and art. The story tells of an outbreak of plague—bubonic and pneumonic—in the Algerian city of Oran. The narration tracks the crisis from beginning to end, noting the different psychological reactions of the townsfolk; and it must be said, now that we are living through a pandemic, that Camus is remarkably prescient in his portrayal a city under siege from
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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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