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The Stranger Paperback – March 13, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0679720201 ISBN-10: 0679720200

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Product Details

  • Series: The strager
  • Paperback: 123 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 13, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679720200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679720201
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (815 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school literature courses) in part because it reveals so vividly the anxieties of its time. Alienation, the fear of anonymity, spiritual doubt--all could have been given a purely modern inflection in the hands of a lesser talent than Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 and was noted for his existentialist aesthetic. The remarkable trick of The Stranger, however, is that it's not mired in period philosophy.

The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial's proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities--that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother's death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts--so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.

Meursault remains a cipher nearly to the story's end--dispassionate, clinical, disengaged from his own emotions. "She wanted to know if I loved her," he says of his girlfriend. "I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn't mean anything but that I probably didn't." There's a latent ominousness in such observations, a sense that devotion is nothing more than self-delusion. It's undoubtedly true that Meursault exhibits an extreme of resignation; however, his confrontation with "the gentle indifference of the world" remains as compelling as it was when Camus first recounted it. --Ben Guterson

From Library Journal

The new translation of Camus's classic is a cultural event; the translation of Cocteau's diary is a literary event. Both translations are superb, but Ward's will affect a naturalized narrative, while Browner's will strengthen Cocteau's reemerging critical standing. Since 1946 untold thousands of American students have read a broadly interpretative, albeit beautifully crafted British Stranger . Such readers have closed Part I on "door of undoing" and Part II on "howls of execration." Now with the domestications pruned away from the text, students will be as close to the original as another language will allow: "door of unhappiness" and "cries of hate." Browner has no need to "write-over" another translation. With Cocteau's reputation chiefly as a cineaste until recently, he has been read in French or not at all. Further, the essay puts a translator under less pressure to normalize for readers' expectations. Both translations show the current trend to stay closer to the original. Marilyn Gaddis Rose, SUNY at Binghamton
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The way Camus develops this story makes it that much more interesting.
Chris Bullington
Overall, though, it's an interesting book to read, and when I was done, I found myself thinking about all sorts of things, because the book really does make you think.
Biblibio
Now I think that Albert Camus' THE STRANGER is a book more about anonymity, destiny and the absurdity of human life.
"hedwigschmidt"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

232 of 252 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Stranger is a haunting, challenging masterpiece of literature. While it is fiction, it actually manages to express the complex concepts and themes of existential philosophy better than the movement's most noted philosophical writings and almost as well as Dostoyevsky's Notes From the Underground. This is a new kind of literature. The story in and of itself is rather simple, but the glimpses into the intellect and feelings of the protagonist are the sources of the magic of this novel. M.Meursault is a normal man in Algiers, France. When we meet him, he is on the way to his mother's funeral, where he says very little, expresses no remorse over her death, and immediately returns home. The next day, he goes swimming, meets Marie, takes her to see a comedy that night, and spends the next few weeks living his normal life and occassionally seeing Marie. He ends up getting indirectly involved in a dispute between his neighbor Raymond and a girl who did him wrong, and the conflict culminates in an encounter on the beach between Raymond, Meursault, and the girl's Arab brother and friend. Raymond is cut with a knife, but the whole episode seems to be resolved. Meursault, though, decides later to take another walk on the beach because he is too worn out to go inside and rejoin his friends, and somewhat inexplicably he ends up killing one of the Arabs. The second half of the novel examines Meursault's thoughts in relation to his trial and sentence; interestingly, he is prosecuted as much if not more for his moral character than for the crime of murder itself.
Basically, Meursault does not care about anything, does not feel anything for anyone (including himself, for the most part).
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By E. David Swan VINE VOICE on June 21, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first started reading `The Stranger' by Albert Camus it seemed rather dull. It's a first person account from a somewhat bland character named Meursault, the titular `Stranger'. While working my way through the book I had to wonder if an alternate translation, `The Outsider', would be more appropriate for `L'Étranger'. Meursault is a Frenchmen living on Algeria but in no way is he a stranger. He has a circle of friends, a job and even a girlfriend. What sets him apart from humanity is his possibly pathological indifference to just about anything whether it be abuse of a dog, abuse of a woman or even the death of his own mother. Not that he engages in abuse it's just that he seems unaffected by the suffering of others. Other descriptions I've read on this book have described Meursault as honest to a fault with this being his downfall. I'm not sure that gives people the correct impression. Meursault's honesty is not the kind where you tell a fat woman she's fat. His downfall is more his inability to feign sorrow, regret or empathy. When his girlfriend asks if he loves her he considers it and answers "no" without any thought that the answer might be painful to hear. About half way through the book, in a bizarre set of circumstances, Meursault ends up killing a man and when asked by the police if he feels regret he says he never looks on the past with regret and in this case feels only vexation. There is no evident malice only utter insensitivity.

Philosophically The Stranger is one of the most intriguing and moving books I have ever read particularly the final act where Meursault confronts the priest who attempts to lead him to the Christian God in the last days before his execution.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although Albert Camus had achieved some fame as a journalist in his native Algiers in the thirties and as a writer for the French resistance during WW II, he first achieved an international critical reputation with the publication of this classic novel in 1946. The portrait of the detached, unfeeling, uncommitted, amoral, perpetually abstracted Meursault is one of the most haunting in 20th century literature. For many, it is the supreme 20th century literary depiction of nihilism. Unquestionably it is one of the premier literary efforts of the century, though Camus managed several other books just as powerful and superb in their own way, in particular THE PLAGUE, THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS, and THE FALL.
Meursault reminds me so much of figures from the paintings of Manet. In painting after painting, Manet depicted individuals alone in crowds, failing or refusing to interact or even acknowledge the others in the frame. In one famous painting, a lower middle class girl sits alone in her own little orb, sitting beside an upper class gentleman, neither acknowledging the existence of the other, both self-contained, seemingly detached from the busy world surrounding them. Behind them, a barmaid drinks a beer, equally oblivious to everyone and everything around her. They might all be on separate desert islands. Manet repeats this in painting after painting. Meursault seems almost as if he had stepped out of one of those paintings. He can at least communicate with others, socialize with them, but he cannot express strong moral sentiments or develop affectionate (as opposed to sexual) attachments.
This is not a happy book.
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