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on December 29, 2014
This is a book i am drawn to again and again. an excellent story of ordinary and limited people in extraordinary and constrained circumstances. most of Camus' work is precisely this, ordinary people in circumstances they either do not understand or understand too well. how humans act toward one another when they find they are in a prison that is their own ordinary if rather odd port town. what happens to the human spirit, how do different people react, how does one man in particular view the situation.

if you're looking for a doomsday book, don't expect this one to fit your bill of fare. this is more about the struggle to remain human and compassionate in extraordinary circumstances over which they have no control. it's about the government's sometimes draconian and sometimes illogical reaction to the situation and the narrator's very clinical observations of both the big and small pictures, snapshots if you will, of various personalities and the evolution of their thought processes. those thought processes are demonstrated rather than dissected. it is this approach to the story that proves Camus' genius. Sadly, we lost him too soon but happily we have his writings. you will find aspects of yourself in the book and you will definitely and hopefully honestly, relate to every character.
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on October 14, 2013
This is the third time I've read this book over four decades, and I still am not particularly moved by it -- not in the way I am by The Decameron (Baccaccio) or The Journal of the Plague Year (Dafoe).

As with a great deal of French Literature, The Plague is heavily influenced by ideology and a not too subtle French Existentialism. The reason this is not helpful is that ideology [where it takes over character and incident] dates a work very quickly.

Readers return to works such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Homeric Epics, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Twain, Melville, Joyce, Rabelais, and Cervantes because there is something terribly human and universal about all of these without being preachy.

Camus seems to be lecturing his readers on most occasions. If you are drawn to his ethical sensibility/ideology then you will enjoy this, but if you spot, sense, holes in the thesis the work is less attractive.

There are better books to read by the author: The Stranger, The Rebel, The Fall come to mind.

This is still a good book, but not as good as the other plague narratives I have mentioned above.

I've given the book 4 stars because it still deserves this, but how much longer this will be the case I cannot say. Daniel Dafoe's Journal of the Plague Year remains the better book and The Plague was heavily influenced by this.

Still, worth a read.
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on January 7, 2018
The plots goes around and around a plague that suddenly ravages the city. The author makes detailed descriptions of the environment, mood and characters. Some "scenes" are memorable and may add to the reader: how do people behave and react? But I give the book only two stars because so much of the description was unnecessary, turning the book tiresome to read. Moreover in my opinion there are a few inconsistencies: in the attempt of being ultra-real, the author stumbled. I would read again only selected passages, the ones I appreciated, but would avoid to read the book entirely again and therefore I do not recommend it.
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on October 24, 2017
What a scam. The e-book version is incorrectly formatted, full of spacing errors, and seems to have been adapted by Franklin W. Dixon.
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on October 9, 2017
The kindle version that is provided is formatted a play and is not the original novel. This is not stated anywhere on the page and all the paperback versions sold on the same page are the original novel. Extremely dissapointed in this.
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on August 29, 2017
Horrible translation or perhaps I should say horrible formatting and translation. The book does not flow as intended. There are many errors in formatting such that some sentences and interactions do not make sense. Someone needs to proof read this translation- it seems like something done by computer and not by a person.
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on January 27, 2015
This is my second Camus novel having read The Stranger earlier this month (I am currently working through Camus' oeuvre). I will not attempt to comment on the literary, philosophical, or political themes in the novel, as i'm sure those have been more aptly discussed by other reviewers. I will however say that under the vaguely formed, could-be-anyone, characters and the harrowing realization that not one of these individuals holds any real control in the face of such suffering, lies the believe that to continue on is to be human. Although a bit more difficult, and more drawn out than The Stranger, The Plague is certainly well worth a read, don't hesitate to pick it up.
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on May 27, 2011
What a wonderful book. The author is a true renaissance man, emerging as a hero from the totalitarian horrors of WWII to create a great work of peace and reconciliation. The style is a little disconcerting at first, with dispassionate reporting by an unnamed narrator (who is only identified very late in the book), but it rises to great and memorable heights when describing the trials and tribulations witnessed by the narrator - 'the hag-ridden populace a part of which was daily fed into a furnace and went up in oily fumes, while the rest, in shackled impotence, waited their turn', the seemingly mundane observation that 'on the whole, men are more good than bad ...' There is a great cast of 'average guy' characters, including an 'insignificant and obscure hero who had to his credit only a little goodness of heart and a seemingly absurd ideal' and the compassionate anti-capital punshiment hero, who comes to the realisation that we all have plague.
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on January 15, 2013
I liked this book. I didn't quite *love* it, but I came very close. I've been a great fan of Camus ever since I read The Stranger. Where The Stranger is a character study of an extreme example of Camus' idea of the absurd man, The Plague is instead an exploration of the way everyday people deal with the absurd--that is, how they come to terms with the vast, impersonal forces that shape their lives and are completely beyond their control.

When Camus explores his ideas by actually showing us how the characters interact with each other, the book is quite compelling. However, there are long stretches when he sidelines into descriptions of the townspeople's behavior in general that amount to thinly veiled philosophical diatribes--which are not bad in themselves, but didactic philosophy is not fiction, and it's quite lazy for Camus to set out with the premise of dramatizing his philosophy, then to sidetrack into merely talking about it.

Overall, though, the book is a great read, the ideas are thought-provoking, and the characters--when we get to spend time with them--are very compelling. Not perfect, but a book everyone should read.
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on November 19, 2014
A masterpiece. I first read The Plague when I was 17 years old and was overwhelmed. It is one of a handful of books that helped me built my "moral compass." After so many years, I decided to reread it to see if it was not just youthful over-enthusiasm. I am now in my mid-60s, and after a full life, I can categorical say, it as relevant and important today as the day it was written. Are you willing to have an honest look into your life? If you are, then please read this read this book.
Gabriel Sassoon
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