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The Stranger by Albert Camus
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The Stranger (original 1942; edition 1989)

by Albert Camus

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,76524754 (3.97)1 / 374
Member:ashbrau
Title:The Stranger
Authors:Albert Camus
Info:Vintage (1989), Paperback, 123 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:None

Work details

The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)

  1. 250
    The Trial by Franz Kafka (chrisharpe, DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: Two protagonists on trial without really understanding what they're being accused of - it's just a question of degree.
  2. 170
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (chrisharpe, DLSmithies, edelpao)
    DLSmithies: A compare-and-contrast exercise - Raskolnikov is all nervous energy and hypertension, whereas Meursault is detatched, calm, and won't pretend to feel remorse. Two masterpieces.
  3. 93
    Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (roby72)
  4. 72
    No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre (Hollerama)
    Hollerama: I read both works in French class. Though Albert Camus denied being an existentialist, both L'Étranger (The Stranger) and Huis Clos (No Exit) have some common themes and are among some of the most important 20th century French works of literature.
  5. 73
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (SanctiSpiritus)
  6. 51
    Notes from Underground by Fedor Mikhaïlovitch Dostoïevski (hiddenpunk)
  7. 30
    The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Georges Simenon (thorold)
    thorold: Respectable bourgeois discovers absurdity of life and commits motiveless crime.
  8. 30
    Barabbas by Pär Lagerkvist (Troddel)
  9. 41
    Whatever by Michel Houellebecq (sanddancer)
  10. 11
    The Fall by Albert Camus (chrisharpe)
  11. 00
    The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrere (bertilak)
  12. 11
    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela (thatguyzero)
  13. 01
    Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz (Bitter_Grace)
  14. 14
    The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Peter Handke (lewbs)
  15. 58
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (SanctiSpiritus)
  16. 05
    Just Revenge : A Novel by Alan M. Dershowitz (LCBrooks)
    LCBrooks: Complementary works that create a powerful foundation for a philosophical debate on revenge.
  17. 617
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Sylak)
    Sylak: Similar in feel and with the same sense of futility throughout.
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English (219)  Spanish (8)  French (7)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (246)
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
I liked this better than I thought I would; which is to say, I did not hate it. One thing I will say is that I think English speakers have been done an injustice by the title being translated as "The Stranger" rather than "The Estranged." There are no strangers here; if you know upfront that Camus is painting Meursault as a man estranged from common humanity, the theme instantly makes more sense. The Stranger is a necessity if you are interested in Absurdist philosophy, or if you are currently attending American high school. Or if you were lucky enough to avoid American high school, but still have to talk to people who weren't. C'est moi.

All day long there was the thought of my appeal. I think I got everything out of it that I could. I would assess my holdings and get the maximum return on my thoughts. I would always begin by assuming the worst: my appeal was denied. "Well, so I'm going to die." Sooner than other people will, obviously. But everybody knows life isn't worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn't much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go on living - and for thousands of years. In fact, nothing could be clearer. Whether it was now or twenty years from now, I would still be the one dying. At that point, what would disturb my train of thought was the terrifying leap I would feel my heart take at the idea of twenty more years of life ahead of me. But I simply had to stifle it by imagining what I'd be thinking in twenty years when it would all come down to the same thing anyway. Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter. Therefore (and the difficult thing was not to lose sight of all the reasoning that went into this "therefore"), I had to accept the rejection of my appeal.


Review from my blog, This Space Intentionally Left Blank ( )
  emepps | Jan 23, 2015 |
According to the actual ratings on GR, The Stranger receives exactly what it says: 2 stars for 'it was ok'. The writing style is unique in a completely different way. It is not eloquent nor anything special but the offhand way in which the story is told gives me chills. Monsieur Mersault is a freaking turf who lacks emotional intelligence. People constantly refer to him as a normal intelligent man but I beg to differ. I don't believe such people exist in only literary fiction but his cavalier personality just takes it way too far. He claims to care and his thoughts hint to some sort of normal feelings but his demeanor and acts completely contradict himself. It's not even a mask he has on but more like blatant...indifference. in other aspects, the book exceeds expectations; the title befits the book perfectly since after 100 approximate pages immersed in the stranger's head, he is still in all regards, a stranger. Albert Camus's has some extraordinary talent to write existentialist works like this one...I merely surmised him to be one of those famous genre authors. I'll google Camus later to check if my suspicions were correct...never mind, they are. Well, I think I'd be happier to try another Camus book and not so hastily put him in the 'disturbingly annoying box'. ( )
  Annannean | Jan 6, 2015 |
I have just re-read this novella and, whilst it is a good read and does say something about the human condition, I still cannot consider Meursault, the main character, as a hero. The blurb on the back of my copy tells me that,"Camus uses Meursault to explore the predicament of the individual who is prepared to face the benign indifference of the universe courageously and alone".

I do not see Meursault in these terms. My reading of the young man would be someone who uses other people but gives nothing in return. When you were younger, did you ever speculate that the world is a stage and that when people step off your stage, i.e. cease to be around you, that they cease to exist? Meursault does not seem to have grown out of this. He likes sex with his girlfriend, Marie, but cannot demean himself to hold a meaningful conversation with her; he cannot remember his mother's age and treats her funeral as an inconvenience; he has no concern that his 'friend' Raymond, beats and pimps women - an all around nice guy!

In my humble opinion, the alternative translation of the title, "The Stranger", is a better summation of Mr. Meurcault. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Jan 3, 2015 |
I liked this book set in 1940s Algeria. Mersault's isolation and indifference to others and his own fate was creepy and thought-provoking. ( )
  krin5292 | Dec 10, 2014 |
The Outsider is, I believe, my favourite book. When I started reading it, I told my son that it was the most depressing thing I had ever read, and that I was only sticking with it because it was a classic, and I wanted to see why. The second half of the book showed me why it is universally respected. Mersault, the main character, views the world as absurd; the judgement of others unnecessary, and life itself meaningless. How this translates on the page is Camus' great gift, for in seeing Mersault's detachment from life, I saw all the reasons to be attached to my own simple life. ( )
  ahef1963 | Nov 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
It is quite a trick to write of life & death, as Camus does, in terms of an almost total social and moral vacuum. He may get philosophical satisfaction from it. Most readers will call it philosophic doodling.
added by Shortride | editTime (May 20, 1946)
 
"The Stranger,” a novel of crime and punishment by Albert Camus, published today, should touch off in this country a renewed burst of discussion about the young French writers who are at the moment making more unusual literary news than the writers of any other country.
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camus, Albertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bree, GermaineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brenner, Hans GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, Marc J.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goyert, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, BarnabyPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laredo, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynnes, Carlos, Jr.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SusanArt directorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morriën, AdriaanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stolpe, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valente, José ÁngelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, MatthewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zevi, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mother died today. (Stuart Gilbert translation)
Maman died today. (Matthew Ward translation)
Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.
Quotations
And I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still.
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Since it was first published in English, in 1946, Albert Camus's first novel, THE STRANGER (l'étranger), has had a profound impact on millions of American readers. Through this story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

Now, in an illuminating new American translation, extraordinary for its exactitude and clarity, the original intent of THE STRANGER is made more immediate. This haunting novel has been given a new life for generations to come.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679720200, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:35 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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. In the story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus was exploring what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd". Now in a new American translation, the classic has been given new life for generations to come.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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