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The Fall

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  68,141 ratings  ·  2,939 reviews
Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a successful Parisian barrister, has come to recognize the deep-seated hypocrisy of his existence. His epigrammatic and, above all, discomforting monologue gradually saps, then undermines, the reader's own complacency.
Paperback, 147 pages
Published May 7th 1991 by Vintage (first published May 16th 1956)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Lauren Van Buskirk
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I ran into my friend Dan at the club last week, and he was drunk. So we talked Camus. We didn’t discuss Camus’s theories, or the fact that he avoided riding in cars and then DIED IN A CAR CRASH. We just talked about Camus in relation to Dan’s life and in relation to mine. The only really interesting thing about anything to me is how it affects me. That’s the honest truth.

Dan and I agreed that an interest in Existentialism is kind of a stage in your life – like when you liked Pearl Jam or lived
...more
Glenn Russell
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing

“One plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn't even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day.”
― Albert Camus, The Fall

“A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the newspapers.” So pronounces Jean-Baptiste Clamence, narrator of Albert Camus’s short novel during the first evening of a monologue he delivers to a stranger over drinks at a shabby Amsterdam watering hole. Then, during the course of several evenings, the narrator continues his m
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
La Chute = The Fall, Albert Camus
The Fall (French: La Chute) is a philosophical novel by Albert Camus. First published in 1956, it is his last complete work of fiction. Set in Amsterdam, The Fall consists of a series of dramatic monologues by the self-proclaimed "judge-penitent" Jean-Baptiste Clamence, as he reflects upon his life to a stranger. In what amounts to a confession, Clamence tells of his success as a wealthy Parisian defense lawyer who was highly respected by his colleagues; his cris
...more
Riku Sayuj

The Anti-Christ

Why does the Judge-penitent address you directly, as if he has found a kindred soul in you?

In this world responsibility is infinite and that is why The Fall is inevitable - even for a Christ. But back then Christ made a mistake — he saw (was) the nausea of the world, he saw (was) the complete guilt of each man (and his own) and he decided to redeem man (himself) by setting a supreme example. He sacrificed himself because he found himself guilty. It was only an example, a call to a
...more
mark monday
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
you know this person, we all know this person, this particular kind of person. a real do-gooder, a person of the people, doling out the goodwill and the spare change and the spare arm to help that blind person across the street. you know the satisfaction they get from looking humble, acting humble, being anything but humble at the heart of them. reveling in their goodness; reveling in their superiority. selflessness disguising selfishness. this person loves 'em and leaves 'em too, except "love" ...more
Manny
I used to be, as they say, a person of some consequence, but now I spend most of my time on Goodreads. What? Oh, I worked for an American organization which provided experts for hire. At significantly elevated rates, it goes without saying. Reliable expertise carries a high market value, that was our business model. Let me tell you about one job I performed. A Spanish government agency wished to discontinue funding of a software project, why I don't know. Some internal feud, perhaps. They requir ...more
Gaurav
The Fall
Albert Camus


I saw only superiority on myself, which explained my benevolence and peace of mind.


You are sitting in a bar in Amsterdam- the Mexico City- just after world war, when you chance an encounter with a ordinary being, a simple man popping up on the stage of your life. Jean-Baptiste Clamence comes across to you an ordinary citizen who tells you he used to be a lawyer but he’s now a judge-penitent. A strange kind of emotion provoked in your consciousness due to the announcement
...more
Samadrita
Do you want to have the very foundations on the basis of which your whole outlook towards life has been shaped, questioned?
Do you want to see the lines between so-called good and evil, right and wrong, the moral and immoral blurred to the extent you could not distinguish one from the other?
Do you want to erase that cherished and precious point of reference, against which you have compared, weighed all your actions, thoughts and feelings so far?

If the answer to the above 3 questions is yes, then
...more
Steven Godin
The philosophical and psychological study of a man suffering inner turmoil and a crisis of existence, the man in question is one Jean Baptiste Clemance, a Parisian lawyer who while spending time in an Amsterdam bar starts to tell a moving, slightly disturbing story of self-pity and guilt to a complete stranger, only the feeling here was that a mirror was between them and felt more like a confession to himself rather than anyone else. This is Classic Camus and has all the trademarks you would com ...more
Sarah
“People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.”

“Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that you toast in champagne. On the contrary, it's hard graft and a long-distance run, all alone, very exhausting. Alone in a dreary room, alone in the dock before the judges, and alone to make up your mind, before yourself and before the judgment of others. At the end of every freedom there is a sentence, which is why freedom is too heavy to bear.”

“Your success and happiness are forgiven you
...more
Luís C.
The Fall by Albert Camus is the monologue of a breathless individual whose phrases follow each other in a frantic rhythm, giving himself up to an attentive interlocutor. The confessions of a man gnawed by the guilt of not having reacted to the suicide of a young woman who has been thrown from a bridge.
This guilt will awaken his human conscience..
Jean Baptiste Clamence, a vain and self-centered bourgeois, a renowned advocate, whom his good calculated actions distinguish, will abandon his rich Par
...more
Samra Yusuf
So what do we talk about, when we talk about living? The very foundations on the basis of which our whole outlook towards life has been shaped? I’ve heard people claiming to spend their lives with a code of conduct, a sort of philosophy of their own to lead a life.” I love doing this,” “I like being there”, “this is wrong”, “I shouldn’t have said that”, and countless other incongruous statements.
From where comes this venerated point of reference to judge our actions, where lies the line that dis
...more
Muhammad Arqum
How foolish I was to assume this would be a quick little read. I could not have been more wrong. I physically feel exhausted. How did Camus write this? The fall is as dense as they come, bitter, excruciating. Forces you to cogitate. The ideas are so repugnant and yet they keep gnawing inside your head. The words are like evil dark matter that establishes its authority right from the start and stays there dictating, vandalizing your property. I cannot believe I am giving this a 5 star rating. I d ...more
Jake
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who's confused as to what this life is all about.
As with most Camus, this book is, in the course of a hundred or so pages, an entire decade of therapy. If you don't feel worse—yet oddly optimistic—about yourself and people in general after this book, you're either inhuman, or you're the exact person this book was meant for.

Someone once extolled this book as "an examination of modern conscience," and it was through this lens that I first began this work. That's accurate, I suppose, to a point, but to leave interpretation at that would be to ro
...more
Χαρά Ζ.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**The fall**

My dear Camus, i love you.
David Schaafsma
I was at the St Louis City Museum with the fam, summer of 2017, taking a break, reading this edition of The Fall, and an employee noticed I was reading this, and a fifty-year-old copy I have owned all of my life. "Oh!" she said, "My favorite philosopher! And such an old book! Can I smell it?" I understood her fetish. And her admiration for Camus, which has been a lifelong thing for me.

I had decided to re-read the (sort of) trilogy from Camus this year, including The Stranger, The Plague, and The
...more
Ted
Well. Well. Well.



(To copy a review opening by a good friend here on this site.)


But then I thought, why not translate it into French? In honor of Camus?

So I tried that, and what did I get?

Bien. Bien. Bien.

No. Not what I meant at all. I didn't mean Good.

By well I meant to express … resignation? A feeling of … what should I say? ennui?

Mon cher compatriote … may I call you that without offense? But why would I assume that we are fellow citizens, dear or otherwise? And why would this author assume
...more
MJ Nicholls
The follow-up to Christos Tsiolkas’s bestseller The Slap, where a boozy Australian lunatic whomps a friend’s child at a party and creates a hotbed of interpersonal tension over 400 outstandingly boring pages. In The Fall, a different boozy Australian accidentally (or was it intentional?) elbows a child onto the grass, causing him to fall and hurt his pelvis, causing outrage on the streets of Canberra! Are our children ever safe from inebriated philanderers with pointy elbows? Why can’t drunks we ...more
Rakhi Dalal
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Left me thinking more than ever.Still there is so much that is left unanswered.The book leaves you uneasy, contemplating and struggling to find the logic underneath the issues raised/addressed by the author.But can there be any sense to the working of human minds?
Håkon
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful little novel about the internal conflicts of the modern man. Selfishness masquerading as selflessness. Our admiration of freedom, yet our inclination towards slavery. Our critique of the living, and honoring of the dead. admitting guilt, not for repentance, but to make guilty of others, so as to make oneselves, in turn, less guilty
The fall recounts a man's fall from innocence, to hating all that is mankind, with all it's contradictions, wishing some form of master would float
...more
Richard Derus
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Report: Told as a long monologue stretched over several days, Jean-Baptiste Clamence reviews the very great highs of his life as a respected criminal attorney, and the very great lows of his life as a libertine without a discernible conscience or moral compass. He narrates his life to an unseen and unheard Other, a tourist from France in Clamence's adopted home of Amsterdam who runs into Clamence at a seedy bar. At each major turning point in Clamence's life, the narra
...more
Supreeth
You're at this bar in Amsterdam, sipping gin or whatever, this guy, wearing a suit, allegedly a lawyer, comes up to you and confesses everything about his life, You know he's weird at first, then you know he's a manipulative bastard, then you know he's a low-key sociopath, then you know he questions his own existence , then you know he's alone and depressed, then you know he's guilt ridden, then you know... anyway, you should've stood up and left, but you didn't. You sat there for two days, list ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
The Opening Line:

Camus in an interview given in 1945: "No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked..."

My Reactions after/while reading the novel:

1. Camus must be an existentialist and that too an advocate of negative existentialism, that which holds there is no meaning for human existence. In the search for meaning, man is distressed and he dies without any comfort of having received a proper answer. In fact, death liberates him from his struggles. D
...more
Jonathan Terrington

“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”

The Fall is one of those books which is less of a novel than an exploration of some kind of spiritual or philosophical narrative or truth. The narrator is a self appointed judge who spares no details about the fact that he does in fact love himself in a highly narcissistic manner. It is this manner which lends him to feeling free as to judge humanity, while ironically also judging himself and yet seemingly feeling free fro
...more
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics
The 'cocoon of conventionality' we spin is comforting...but when it is ripped away there is not always a 'butterfly with ethical wings' that emerges. Camus reminds us that our character is both projection and interjection - in and of - the society we live in.
Evan
"Mon chéri, it seems Amsterdam has disagreed with you. You're so pale."

"Ah, mon amour, oui, I never want to leave the Paris sun again. I want to hold you naked and hang my fog-drenched clothes over the terrace to dry and never look at another dismal canal or smoky bar."

"But I thought my man liked those things about Amsterdam."

"I did, sweet, until I had the misfortune of running into this rather shabby, verbose character...French expat, Jean-Baptiste...well, at least that's what he called himself
...more
Leo Robertson
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Awesome, powerful, almost scarily compressed, seductive, peppered with ironic humour, unreadable then readable then re-readable. Camus’ Jean-Baptiste strips away the artifice and illusions of civilization having undeniably fallen out of it and hence witnessed the pointlessness of it, striving with the rest of his time to wrench others out too. An easy task, as once the reader is made aware of the absurd, it becomes an obsession, and he or she too would do anything in their power not to return to ...more
Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy
I re-read this book twice a year every year, in different languages (French, English or Spanish :)

Every chapter (~10 pages) can easily take me two hours (I think only die-hard fans of poetry [or Hegel] can understand this) due to the amount of paradoxes, insights and quality of the prose (o the French surely have a way with being poetic even writing prose [Baudelaire was really on point, as usual in that decadent genius]), not to mention the self-examination and judging others... :)

I love this b
...more
muthuvel
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"All dunces, all punished, let’s all spit on one another and – hurry! to the little-ease! Each tries to spit first, that’s all. I’ll tell you a big secret, mon cher. Don’t wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day."

This is a profoundly enlightening philosophical work. As Sartre said, this is the most beautiful and least understood work of Camus. I don't think it would be fair to elaborate the happenings of this monologue novel.

"We must all answer for everything to the world at large
...more
Bahar Mir
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read, favorites
Have you ever read a book so amazing that you have thought about changing your past ratings because you hadn't done justice to this one if they shared the same score?That's how I felt during reading this amazing masterpiece.
As you can see I've marked to re-read this book , so I would do a more thorough review on it once I have done so ; but for now ,this would be it.
In the description of the book , you will read that it's about a painting which was stolen. Well it isn't just about that. It's an
...more
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The Bookworms of RVA: "The Fall" Albert Camus 1 55 Oct 27, 2011 05:09AM  

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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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