- Paperback: 123 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Clean & Tight Contents edition (1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679720200
- ASIN: B00AV01JPO
- Package Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,223 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Stranger Paperback – 1988
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The Stranger is as beautiful as any work of art can hope to be. It is in the latter parts of the book, where Mersault's words have a lyrical power not seen previous, that the English translation achieves the haunting effect that must be even more prevalent in the French. The first thing readily obvious is that the character has no emotional connection to what he experiences; he simply experiences. Thus, Camus utilizes an American style, terse and detached. Some reviewers were off put by this. "How could he not care that his mother died? " Attaching immorality to Mersault merely shows a total misunderstanding of the book. Camus believed in "absurd freedom," life has no inner value and is futilely cut short, but it is up to us to determine our life in such uncertainty. If one doesn't interpret life, emotion doesn't exist. But the values that society has incriminate you if you don't conform. They make you strange. They take no account of individuality. That is the peril of the main character after a bizarre series of events on a sun drenched beach. The power of Camus is that even though he creates such a bleak, hopeless human situation the characters still go on as best they can, perhaps even attaining happiness. "One must imagine Sisyphus happy," to quote The Myth of Sisyphus. That is also the power and beauty of mankind. /BEST VALUE /FAST SERVICE/OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE/
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The story is full of metaphor and discovery: the sun and light and heat bristle throughout the pages of the story. "She said, 'If you go slowly, you risk getting a sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church.' She was right. There was no way out"
The book is short (125 pages) and written in the short sentence, staccato style of writers like Hemingway. The read is easy but the meanings are deeper than the words on the page. By the end the effect is a story told in the detail of two or three times the pages that Albert Camus uses. It is clever and thought provoking and well worth the read!
(Matthew Ward translation)
The story was quick, the ideas were big and the characters were an interesting bunch that reminded me of a mix between Hemingway's Lost Generation and Kerouac's Beats. This is a book I would recommend everyone to read. Take a day or a weekend and delve into the mind of Albert Camus. Camus writes in another of his books, The Myth of Sisyphus, "There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide." Once we decide whether or not to live, then all of the other questions that philosophy poses can come into play. The Stranger, through Meursault, takes a look at life and asks one simple questions: Why?
In sum this is the story of Mersault, a Frenchman living in Northern Africa. The first half of the book tells the story of Mersault's reaction and experiences following his mother's death. The second half details Mersaults views as he goes through a court trial (no spoilers here)
Camus' style is relatively easy to read and Mersault is both relatable and a bit revolting. I found myself agreeing with him on a number of points. Still, he is unrepentant of his actions and he behaves and thinks in a number of ways that are counter to what society may think. In some ways I could draw a comparison between Mersault and Holden from Catcher in the Rye. The last 20 pages or so of the book seem to hold so much depth but are just out of reach.
While I don't profess to be able to analyze this book and understand it, I'll leave that to the academics. But I will recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a challenging and introspective if dark read.
The book left me with so many unanswered questions, questions that — when it really mattered — became irrelevant as the final pages of the book revealed his final moments. And I think that is one of the most wonderful achievements of this great book: In the end, does any of it really matter?
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Book content: I could probably write a ten-page review on the significance and...Read more