Olivier Todd's biography of Albert Camus matches its subject's depth by portraying the man as well as the moralist. Born in Algeria and raised in poverty by an illiterate mother, Camus never forgot where he came from. He made his name in Nazi-occupied Paris--publicly as the author of The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus, covertly as a member of the Resistance and editor of its newspaper, Combat--but he longed for the North African sun of his youth. During the years of crisis when Algeria struggled to break free from France, Camus alienated both colonialists and revolutionaries by supporting full equality for Arabs but denouncing terrorism. "I believe in justice," he told an Algerian heckler at a 1957 meeting he addressed in Stockholm after winning the Nobel Prize. "But I will defend my mother before justice." It is this preference for the concrete over the abstract that makes Camus such an appealing thinker. Todd's biography, which offers the most fully human depiction yet, is equally engaging. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
There are very few biographies as meticulously researched as this one by journalist and author Todd (Cruel April, LJ 8/90). In some cases, the research leads to stretches of very tedious reading, but the book's smooth narrative flow mostly prevents that and makes for a rich description of Camus's life in colonial Algiers, wartime Paris, and his relationship with his immediate family, wives, and lovers. Todd's use of personal correspondence, interviews with family members, and previously unused public records reveals a complex man who was a philosopher, novelist, literary editor, and journalist slowly dying of tuberculosis and at odds with fellow French intellectuals over his political beliefs. Set against the historical background of French North Africa, Occupied France, and the postwar Paris literary scene, Camus vividly comes to life almost 40 years after his tragic death in an automobile accident. Recommended for specific collections.
-?David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It is a pity that so fine a biography has been shorn of all notes and bibliographic mateerials. A pity and inexplicable, since American interest in Camus has always been great. Read morePublished on December 3, 2012 by Michael Greenebaum
Some of these reviews talk about a characteristic "choppiness" in Todd's Camus biography. I knew immediately what they meant: one looks in vain here for coherent discussions of... Read morePublished on November 19, 2012 by chainlink
Camus is not the easiest of writers to categorize. Both philosopher and literary figure, his world is fraught with too many pitfalls for the casual glance. Read morePublished on August 31, 2009 by Francis Lemfield
One hopes that the French edition, which is 400 hundred, not 100, pages longer, is considerably better, but I find that hard to believe. Read morePublished on December 23, 2004 by Pleased to meet you
This book provides an interesting portrait of someone whom most would now qualify as one of the more interesting (if not most important) authors of the twentieth century. Read morePublished on August 21, 2000 by J. Michael Showalter