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The Fall Paperback – May 7, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (May 7, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679720227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679720225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

From the Inside Flap

Elegantly styled, Camus' profoundly disturbing novel of a Parisian lawyer's confessions is a searing study of modern amorality.

Customer Reviews

I am reading the book for the second time now.
Pen Name
Aside from being Camus' crowning literary achievement, this work could also be viewed as one of the most important works of twentieth century literatue.
mrgrieves08
The Fall by Albert Camus is a short, disturbing work about the "fallen" life of Jean-Baptiste Clamence, the narrator of the story.
benjamin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 177 people found the following review helpful By "appassionata_1804" on July 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Soon after publishing The Fall, Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature. On the strength of this book alone, he deserved it. As a novel, The Fall improves upon its two predecessors, The Stranger and The Plague, in almost every way. The writing itself is much more confident, full of scathing wit and eloquent outrage. The intertwining of artistic aim and philosophical conviction is utterly seamless. Neither is compromised, as they were at times in the earlier works. Rather, both art and philosophy are employed here to serve the STORY. In short, The Fall delivers on what Camus had always promised- a masterful work of literature that also FORCES the reader to examine his/her life.
Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a "good guy." He uses his abilities as a lawyer to protect the poor and weak. When asked, he helps blind people across the street. Wherever one finds a righteous cause, he appears to support it. He is a well-respected member of the community. Could one truly find SERIOUS fault with such a person?
Well, as of late, Clamence has had a slight problem: he has felt the need to be honest, both with others and himself. The truth often leads people to strange places, and so Clamence, formerly rich and recently disgraced, finds himself at a sailors' bar in Amsterdam. Here, he finally comes clean about his life and his actions (one and the same, possibly?). He's no criminal, surely not, or not the WORST kind anyway. His crime is much more insidious, and it consists of what we are all guilty of: he is two-faced. His purest acts of selflessness are actually forms of self-deception, for they mask that in the end, he is really satisfying himself.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By "botatoe" on April 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Barely more than a hundred pages, "The Fall" represents Albert Camus' ultimate foray into the recesses of psychic anguish. Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a once-respected and successful Paris barrister, sits alone in an Amsterdam bar delivering his stark monologue to an unknown listener. It is a confessional narrative, a tale in which Clamence slowly unravels the spare facts of his life, his deceptions, his inauthenticity, his bad faith.
As he sits in the dimly lit bar, Clamence makes the locus of his telling a metaphor for the narrative to follow: "We are at the heart of things here. Have you noticed that Amsterdam's concentric canals resemble the circles of hell? The middle-class hell, of course, peopled with bad dreams. When one comes from the outside, as one gradually goes throught those circles, life-and hence its crimes-becomes denser, darker. Here we are in the last circle." It is a metaphor that resonates with existential imagery, reminiscent of Sartre's claim, in "No Exit", that "hell is other people." From this grim place, Camus writes a classic of Existentialist literature, building on this metaphor, writing an extended trope of unremitting self-examination, self-doubt and anguish.
Clamence was, by all outward appearances, both a virtuous and a modest man. His courtesy was famous and beyond question. He was generous in public and private, literally exulting at the approach of a beggar. He helped the blind man cross the street and the indigent defendant secure a reduced sentence. He ended his afternoons at the café with "a brilliant improvisation in the company of several friends on the hard-heartedness of our governing class and the hypocrisy of our leaders.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By mrgrieves08 on July 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Aside from being Camus' crowning literary achievement, this work could also be viewed as one of the most important works of twentieth century literatue. It is also perhaps the most representational fictional work in the existensialist genre, far surpassing the work of Sartre. The Fall, aside from being a great work, is a masterful technical achievment, and a lesson in character development and dialogue. The plot revolves around a Parisian Lawyer by the name of Jean-Baptiste Clamence and his conversation with an anonymous man at an Amsterdam bar. As the story progresses the reader is gradually overwhelmed by the lawyers increasingly serious confessions. With no scenery to distract you the intensity of the conversation grows with each admission.
In his simple confession and out pouring of emotion we see a successful, seemingly content man, gradually transformed and reduced into an alienated, and shattered human being, a mere shell of the individual that he once strived to be. This book is similar to "The Stranger" in the way that the psychological tension continues to build, moving towards the final disheartening enlightenment. But, unlike "The Stranger" there is no closure for the subject or release from torment, only endless confession; not only for his individual crimes, but for those of all humanity. One can only speculate on how Camus would have continued this line of inquiry if he hadn't been tragically killed in an automobile accident at the age of 46. As it is we can only continue to enjoy and contemplate what he left behind. For as long as literature exists writers will continue to delve into the recesses of the human psyche and attempt to provide a flicker of light in, an all to often, dark world. After reading this book I can say that Camus accomplished this like few writers ever had, and will always be a sobering light amid the confusion of an often absurd world.
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