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A Happy Death

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  11,044 ratings  ·  715 reviews
Is it possible to die a happy death? This is the central question of Camus's astonishing early novel, published posthumously and greeted as a major literary event. It tells the story of a young Algerian, Mersault, who defies society's rules by committing a murder and escaping punishment, then experimenting with different ways of life and finally dying a happy man. In many ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 28th 2002 by Penguin Classics (first published 1971)
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Claudia Rocha Yes, it's the story of a man called Mersault and his thoughts on life, happiness and death. It's in French, but I'm sure there's an English translatio…moreYes, it's the story of a man called Mersault and his thoughts on life, happiness and death. It's in French, but I'm sure there's an English translation(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
La Mort Heureuse = A happy death, Albert Camus
A Happy Death was the first novel by French writer-philosopher Albert Camus. The existentialist topic of the book is the "will to happiness," the conscious creation of one's happiness, and the need of time (and money) to do so. It draws on memories of the author including his job at the maritime commission in Algiers, his suffering from tuberculosis, and his travels in Europe.

عنوانها: مرگ خوش؛ خوشبخت مردن؛ نویسنده: آلبر کامو؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز
Swaroop Kanti
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"The craving for happiness seems to be the noblest thing in man's heart."

"When I look at my life and its secret colors, I feel like bursting into tears. Like that sky. It's rain and sun both, noon and midnight. I think of the lips I've kissed, and of the wretched child I was, and of the madness of life and the ambition that sometimes carries me away. I'm all those things at once. I'm sure there are times when you wouldn't even recognize me. Extreme in misery, excessive in happiness."

Parthiban Sekar

“You make the mistake of thinking you have to choose, that you have to do what you want, that there are conditions for happiness. What matters- all that matters, really- is the will to happiness, a kind of enormous, ever present consciousness. The rest- women, art, success- is nothing but excuses. A canvas waiting for our embroideries.”
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is the Richard Howard translation, hardcover. I rescued it from a dumpster last summer.

There is a napkin inside between pages 114 & 115 with scribbling most likely intended for a journal. There is no name. It's dated 7/20/72. Here is what it says:

May not go to California afterall,
going due N.E. through New England
as planned and still on schedule.
Drifted through winchester to
see Emily, and did, from a
distance in a bar.
May be back in 2 wk. but
hard to say. like to get to Mexico in Dec.

Saw exh
Ammara Abid
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
"Nothing is more uglier or more degrading than sickness".

I have mixed feelings regarding this book. I like it but didn't adored it, something is missing. Few pages left me in ambiguity and there's a lot of repetition about his women talk & life. Though an interesting read, not brilliant like his other works but still a decent book.
(I know the reason after reading the articles about it)

Camus didn't publish it in his life, his widow do that, after 10 years of his death, there must be some reas
Jan 04, 2014 marked it as to-read
Yes. I've been warned.
Jan 04, 14
Jon Nakapalau
Camus takes us through the maze of self discovery...showing us that what we seek and what we find are often two very different outcomes. Read this before you read The will help "flesh out" the book for you.
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars

From his unique, powerful narration, I found reading Albert Camus’s “A Happy Death” fascinatingly pleasurable since he, as one of the great world-class authors, has famously written his fiction like the flowing tide as we can see that it in some pages rarely ends, for instance, in pages 4, 6, 9, etc. So some readers might find such pages boring for such seemingly never-ending prose. However, his uncommon writing style is like magic worth reading and studying because we can be literarily
Steven Godin
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Something and nothing - A Happy death serves as a precursor to arguably, his most famous work: The Outsider. Exploring similar themes such as, existentialism, life and dealing with death. The long-term ramifications of committing murder is central to the story, but having read a lot of Camus previously, it just didn't seem as good. Meursault, is looked at in a more lyrical way. Instead of going through the motions of an alienated character who was unconvincing then and is stereotypical now, the ...more
Henry Martin
Aug 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Camus' A Happy Death is presented as "May be read as a preamble to The Stranger" (The Stranger, being one of my favorite books).

So, where shall I begin?

There are, undoubtedly, very strong similarities between A Happy Death and The Stranger. As a reader, I could view A Happy Death as a hint of what The Stranger would be. After all, both books feature a protagonist named Mersault, both books deal with death, and both books deal with a character who is, in a way, unaffected by the world that surr
Beatrice Santos
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
We all know the proverb: "Money doesn't bring happiness".
I always thought that was bullshit. The proofs were lying on the corner spots of my city, waiting for some kind of warm food and warm shelter.
Money itself doesn't make people happy, but the power it gives them, does. The security does. The lack of worrying does. The endless opportunities and all the doors it opens, does.

This book takes an interesting element into my opinion. It adds time.

"I like to be conscious. And what I've noticed is t
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Happy Death was Camus's first attempt at writing a novel, which he worked on from 1936-1938 when he was in his early to mid twenties. He (wisely) chose not to submit it for publication, but after his death in 1960, his widow (unwisely) decided to allow the unfinished manuscripts to be corrected and compiled into a book, which was published in 1971.

This book is based in part on Camus's early experiences, including his childhood in a blue collar neighborhood in Algiers, his early troubled marria
Sep 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

-Great Agony for the translator-

I found Sth very disappointing about this book. Maybe it is because of the translator or maybe the writer itself.
The translator is not good and describing and I hated the scenes, because I didn’t understand and feel how they were.
There were mistakes, he used some expressions and some words in a wrong place, I also found some errors of the absence of concordance between subject and the verb!

All of those factors played a role, for me not to enjoy the book by me.
Francesca Calarco
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A friend of mine lent me a copy of "A Happy Death" about a decade ago, and today I finally made good on reading it... sorry buddy. "The Stranger" blew me away when I read it in my formative years, and for this very reason I have been reluctant to read to the novel billed as its preamble. That said, my reluctance was probably warranted.

While this has many hallmarks of a Camus narrative, it is still an underdeveloped product compared to his later works. Not just with character and plot developmen
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: albert-camus
This life which devours me—I won’t have known it to the full, and what frightens me about death is the certainty it will bring me that my life has been consummated without me.
An intense and secret fervor swelled within him, and it was a nostalgia for cities filled with sunlight and women, with the green evenings that close all wounds. Tears burst from his eyes. Inside him widened a great lake of solitude and silence above which ran the sad song of his deliverance.
At the strange peace that fill
Sully (thysaltymar)
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Another philosophical book by Camus. They said it's the first draft for 'the stranger' but I appreciated 'The Stranger' more.

I feel like I want to re-read this before deciding exactly what I think of it because I kind of feel terrible for the way he describe women in this novel -_- but, despite that odd factor, I really enjoyed it.
This book is really a tough read since i felt like reading a very deep poetry (well, I should have prepared myself for is Camus' novel) ;)

September 01 ,2012
Sajid Ahmed
Oct 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A Happy Death is a short novel with so much compressed into its pages, but Camus delivers with a simple and beautiful unraveling of the character’s story.  Like most of Camus’ works, A Happy Death is worth reading; in its pages is sadness, despair, loneliness, unhappiness, and existentialism. You’ll find yourself feeling sympathetic towards Mersault because he is obviously so lost and drowning in his own inability to understand happiness in both staying and going. His random surges of love and p ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A happy death, Camus’ first ever written novel (1936) was not published until 10 years after his death. It is the baby form of The Outsider (L’etranger) in which the protagonist “Mersault” our same “Meursault” of The outsider looks for happiness as “a will to happiness” and the money/time dilemma to achieve this goal “Happiness too, is a long patience. And in almost every case, we use up our lives making money, when we should be using money to gain time.”
I felt that this Mersault of “A Happy D
Rami Hamze
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The first novel by Camus, written in his early 20s and which he chose not to publish. It is often compared to “The Stranger/Outsider” in its themes and protagonist (Mersault). Both are existential but in this book, the main character/ author comes across more lively, experimental, and emotional; one who smells the soil and sleeps with his ear to the ground feeling the throbbing of the mountain.

The first 3 chapters were a typical Camus style but chapters 4 and 5 on solitude and conquering of happ
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
"he realized that he must come to terms with time, that to have time was at once the most magnificent and the most dangerous of experiments. Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre."

"it takes time to live. Like any work of art, life needs to be thought about."

"It takes time to be happy. A lot of time. Happiness, too, is a long patience. And in almost every case, we use up our lives making money, when we should be using our money to gain time."
Turkel Afandiyev
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Even though this is the first known book written by Camus, it was published posthumously, only ten years after the author's death.
And I have a clue why.
Engy Habib
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Philosophically-coated worth reading and studying novel!
Megha Chakraborty
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has a lot in common with The stranger and somehow feels a precursor to it. The book starts with Meursault, and his search understanding of happiness. The book is deep and dark, it touches you on so many levels.

Meursault lives for nothing; he appreciates the night and the sea but knows they're meaningless too. He lives and meets death with open hands, because it too is meaningless, and that only makes his life more free and beautiful.

The only issue which I had is with the timeline, it
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-lit
"A Happy Death" is an important aid to cataloguing the mindset of Camus as a developing artist. The style is very good, particularly the imagery. That being said, there is probably a reason that Camus did not publish this book himself. The first division of the book--"Natural Death"--is fairly good, and has good plot direction. The second section, "Conscious Death," gets very annoying very fast. By the end of the first chapter in that section, I hated Patrice Mersault, the protagonist. By the en ...more
Sebastian Radu
For him, too, starting over, departures, a new life had a certain luster, but he knew that only the impotent and the lazy attach happiness to such things. Happiness implied a choice, and within that choice a concerted will, a lucid desire. He could hear Zagreus: "Not the will to renounce, but the will to happiness."

"You make the mistake of thinking you have to choose, that you have to do what you want, that there are conditions for happiness. What matters - all that matters, really - is the will
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay. Weird book. I should have expected something a bit on the existential side when I picked up a Camus work. And as usual, despite it’s odd factor, I really enjoyed it. It is a little bit of a tough read – so descriptive in nature that it’s kind of like reading very poetic poetry. (redundant, I know). And similar to other Camus books I’ve read, it took till the last third of the novel for me to grow to appreciate and love the main character. I’m not exactly sure why Camus didn’t care for this ...more
Mohammad Jawich
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Until now he had lived. Now he could talk of his life. Of that great ravaging energy which had borne him on, of that fugitive and generating poetry of life, nothing was left now but the transparent truth which is the opposite of poetry. Of all the men he had carried inside himself, as every man does at the beginning of this life, of all those various rootless, mingling beings, he had created his life with consciousness, with courage. That was his whole happiness in living and dying.
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting read, however didn't keep me entertained like The Outsider did.
There were a few snippets here and there that I absolutely loved, but as a whole, a bit disappointed.
Nevertheless, Camus is still one of my favourite's.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
…I love reading Camus when growing up…

Oh, Camus is like that… you read his lines and immediately become engulfed by a hurricane of feelings and sensations… your heart palpitating wildly…and then willingly giving up to a tranquil bliss… all at once… the salty vapour born by the hot sun of Algiers… the salty vapour that rises from the blue of the sea and human bodies caught in carnal excitement… salty like tears… tears of desperation but also of happiness… the leisure laziness of the days…of long
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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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