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The First Man Paperback – August 6, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this draft, it seems that he was just writing down everything that had come to his mind, the things that he remembered and thought could be part of the story. It's not edited or organized well, so there are some inconsistency, unfinished sentences, and confusions. The plot is not clear, you don't know where the story is going, and the structure is not solid. There are some parts that can be eliminated as well.
But the writing itself is still very strong and beautiful, and there is a lot of wisdom in it. I especially enjoyed the chapter "the school." In this chapter he talks about the school life of the protagonist and how the teacher M. Bernard taught the children with love and discipline, and how the children loved and adored him, despite the corporal punishment they received from him for misbehaving. It's the kind of teacher-student relationship you rarely see in today's society. Each episode is vivid, detailed, heart-warming, full of wisdom and love, and beautifully written.
At the end of the book, after the story ceases, there is a section called "Interleaves." It's a collection of notes and memos of Camus, bits and pieces of scenes or dialogues, thoughts and ideas, which didn't have a chance to take parts of the book. Obviously Camus was planning to use them.Read more ›
According to Camus's daughter, who wrote the preface to the book, had Camus lived, as a man with a reserved nature he would have edited out much of his personal feelings that he included in the manuscript. Left untouched the published manuscript had an honesty that it may not otherwise have had. The book's unedited, frequent run-on sentences lent the book a flowing quality and a sense of immediacy and urgency. Camus also beautifully described the suffocatingly hot, sere quality of the Algiers summers. For me, _The First Man_ is a scintillating tale of a boy who triumphed despite his extreme disadvantages, who was never without "a sure confidence...(that) guaranteed that he would achieve everything he desired..."
This unfinished autobiographical novel comes to us nearly forty years after Camus died in a car crash, because, as his daughter explains in her introduction, his wife and friends were afraid to publish it at the time of his death. They feared that it would make an easy target for the increasingly numerous critics of Camus, who had gone from being an icon of the left, winning the Nobel Prize in 1957, to being a pariah, because of his principled stand on two issues: first, he refused to turn a blind eye to the Gulag and denounced the totalitarian methods of the Soviet Union; second, he refused to go along with the Algeria-for-the-Arabs climate of the times, calling instead for a sharing of power between natives and European colonists. In addition, the preoccupation with morality in his writings struck the intellectuals of his day as antiquated and quaint. Publishing a fragmentary work would have invited attacks on his already sliding reputation by a literary class which had turned on him for these myriad political reasons.
The novel, which was actually found in the wreckage of his car, would indeed have been greeted with hoots and catcalls by the Left. It is the most sentimental and personal of all his works. The story of Jacques Cormery's return to Algeria and his reflections on his coming of age is filled with inchoate longing, for the Algeria of his youth, for the Father who died when he was just a child, for the love of a beautiful but deaf and distant Mother and for a moral code by which to live. It brilliantly evokes a distinct place and time and the happy memories of a difficult childhood.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very sincerely written book. It a great loss that Albert Camus died before accomplishing this wonderful book.Published 8 months ago by Roger Tavor
Thankfully relieved it was the right version for my English classPublished 11 months ago by Jonathan C.
Not sure why, but i love reading Camus. Many of his books are a must read, this is one of them.Published 13 months ago by Mark Anderson
The world had to wait so long for this autobiography by Camus to be published. It was well worth the wait, and the book contains all the warmth and humanity attributed to the man... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Helene Bailey
So moving. I read Camus many years ago and will now re read him.Published 16 months ago by carogwynllew
I bought the book when it seemed like easy answers might be harvested from what is on the mind of those who died in the process of writing something that tried to capture a past... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bruce P. Barten
I'm still working my way through this...
Having read the Camus canon it took some mental adjustment to be open to what he writes here...I first read him when I was 17... Read more