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The Plague Paperback


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The Plague + The Stranger + The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 7, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679720219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679720218
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Nobel prize-winning Albert Camus, who died in 1960, could not have known how grimly current his existentialist novel of epidemic and death would remain. Set in Algeria, in northern Africa, The Plague is a powerful study of human life and its meaning in the face of a deadly virus that sweeps dispassionately through the city, taking a vast percentage of the population with it.

Review

The message is not the highest form of creative art, but it may be of such importance for our time that to dismiss it in the name of artistic criticism would be to blaspheme against the human spirit. -- The New York Times Book Review, Stephen Spender --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This novel, written by the great existentialist Albert Camus, is one of the greatest novels that I have ever read.
Robert W. Smith
It is in this much more developed context that Camus' most remarkable notions of humanity, life, and existence can be fleshed out and communicated more effectively.
Daniel Jolley
It's a very interesting look into the human character and the interpersonal relations built within are fascinating as well.
Peter June

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

249 of 276 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Plague is easily one of the best ten novels ever written, far surpassing even the erstwhile classic The Stranger. Whereas we examine an uncommonly cold-hearted man in a normal world in the pages of The Stranger, in this novel it is a harsh outside world which closes in on a group of fascinating characters. It is in this much more developed context that Camus' most remarkable notions of humanity, life, and existence can be fleshed out and communicated more effectively. The lessons of good, normal lives in a world gone mad are much more instructive and meaningful than the observations in The Stranger of a man gone mad in a normal world.
A word to the wise: when large numbers of rats come out of the woodwork and commence dying nasty, bloody deaths in the streets and houses, something is definitely wrong. In the port city of Oran, the population ignores the signs of danger and only grudgingly admits that an epidemic, a form of the bubonic plague to be exact, has taken root in their city. The protagonist, Dr. Rieux, is a doctor who finally helps convince the authorities to take extreme measures in the interest of public safety and to eventually quarantine the entire town. Over the course of the novel, we get to observe the manner in which Dr. Rieux, his companions, and prominent men of the community react to the worsening plague and its social consequences. Dr. Rieux has just sent his unhealthy wife off to a sanitarium before the plague breaks out, and he must suffer her absence alongside the stresses of working 20+ hours a day trying to save people's lives while accomplishing little more than watching them die horrible deaths. Dr.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name? VINE VOICE on April 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
The plague is an allegory, for fascism and totalitarianism. The novel deals largely with individuals' varying reactions to the plague as it emerges and settles in on the city of Oran. Only those who act or are important in the development of the scene are named, and though many of the characters perceive reality differently, we are able to sympathize with where they are coming from. The novel is about overcoming indifference and performing good acts that we are all capable of. Camus makes it clear that there are no heroes in the novel, only people who recognize their responsibility and embrace life. Even though the plague is ultimately "defeated," there is no typical happy ending, for the plague bacillus never dies. This novel is still entirely relevant to our world today. The central point of Camus' writing is "the absurd." The absurd is characterized by the confrontation of "rational man and the indifferent universe." Camus dismisses ideas such as transcendence, or a leap of faith, there is no existential commitment. He looks to embrace the absurd, to keep it alive. Camus is very much a moralist and a pacifist; he deplored one-sided views of any political situation, and broke off relationships with other prominent writers of his time such as Sartre, whose ties to Communism and justification of violence Camus abhorred. He did not wish to take sides in the French-Algerian war. Camus did not seem to identify with a particular people, a belief system or any form of certainty, but viewed man as being in constant revolt against the powers that tried to enslave him, keeping him from living. Camus would rather embrace the absurdity of life than a frail system.Read more ›
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103 of 120 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The town itself, let us admit, is ugly." So says Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of Albert Camus', The Plague.
The Plague takes place in Oran, a small Mediterranean town in North Africa. Not only does Dr. Rieux find Oran ugly, he find its inhabitants boring people with little involvement in the actual business of living.
One day, Rieux steps on a dead rat, then another and another. Soon, he sees them everywhere, littered among the bloated corpses of Oran's inhabitants. Rieux and the Oranians ignore the problem at first, blaming the sanitation bureau for neglecting its duties. However, they soon discover that the dead and dying have a far more sinister tale to tell.
Although Rieux is the narrator of The Plague, several other main characters do exist. Jean Tarrou is a hapless man who has the misfortune of wandering into Oran during the plague. He quickly becomes a friend of Rieux's and his chronicles of Oran's ordeal appear throughout the book. Raymon Rambert is a French journalist who simply ends up in Oran during the time of the plague. Although longing to return to his beautiful wife in Paris, Rambert is forced to remain in Oran. Jospeh Grand is a writer eking out an existence in Oran as he attempts to write the perfect book, while Cottard is a prisoner who is using Oran to hide from the officials who want to execute him.
Oran is quarantined and its citizens must find various ways of dealing with this catastrophe. Some simply accept the inevitable and wait for the disease to strike while others turn a blind eye in the hope that if they do not see the plague, the plague will not see them.
One problem, however, affects all of the town's inhabitants--money. For the first time, Oran's port is closed.
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