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

by Albert Camus

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23,22125948 (3.98)1 / 422
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. 270
    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. 180
    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. 83
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (SanctiSpiritus)
  5. 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.
  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 Carrère (bertilak)
  12. 11
    The Family of Pascual Duarte by Camilo Jose Cela (thatguyzero)
  13. 01
    Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz (Bitter_Grace)
  14. 13
    The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Peter Handke (lewbs)
  15. 59
    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.
1940s (3)
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English (229)  Spanish (8)  French (7)  Italian (3)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (2)  English (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 229 (next | show all)
The original title of this novel "L'Etranger" does translate literally into English as "The Stranger", but this novel's context has also led to its translation as "The Outsider". The difference between the two words in fact draws a line between interpretations of the novel. This is the story of a murderer. Either he stands outside of the society the rest of us count ourselves members of, someone vile we can examine from a comfortable distance, or else he is one stranger among all us who are strangers, none of us mattering to the universe - a creepier version that defies you to offer real counterargument as it sets up and tears apart religious and judicial arguments.

I'm a firm believer that where non-fiction teaches us facts, fiction teaches us about emotions. What to do then, with a novel's protagonist who is so dispassionate? The absence of a thing can teach us the value of its presence. Meursault has dismissed everything that makes life worth living as being irrelevant to what life is, but then, of what stuff is life? He doesn't say - or rather, he denies it has any substance. There are times we find ourselves not feeling what we think we ought to, feeling unaffected, feeling like the stranger in the room. It's another thing entirely to justify remaining stuck there and refusing to budge, embracing permanent hopelessness and adopting it as one's philosophy. Filed among "books to ban from the house when depressed." ( )
  Cecrow | Aug 10, 2015 |
What a strange book.

Look for this translation -- the one by Matthew Ward -- rather than the older one by Stuart Gilbert that my generation grew up with. In his translator's note, Ward points out that Camus employed what he called an "American method" when he wrote The Stranger. Camus was an admirer of Hemingway, and it shows in this translation. The older translation is very British, and I'm all about the Brits but not when it comes to Camus.

Put it this way: one of the sentences in the original French of The Stranger is "Il était avec son chien." You don't have to know a lot of French to be able to translate that word for word as "He was with his dog." Which is what Matthew Ward does. Stuart Gilbert fussed around far too much and turned that simple sentence into "As usual, he had his dog with him." Which isn't what Camus said at all.

I'm talking about the translation because I don't have much to say about the novel itself, which is brilliant and baffling. I read it with my son as part of his homeschooling. He isn't much of a pleasure-reader, but he burned through this very quickly and enjoyed it.

"Very strange," he said as he handed it back to me. ( )
1 vote Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Very interesting and thought provoking. Full of existentialism and a light, easy read. The story flows nicely. ( )
  StellaPayge | Jul 30, 2015 |
This book is very thought-provoking. The part that I kept thinking about was the ending. I felt that it's a little open-ended which I didn't like. Also, the ending left me disturbed unlike how it left other reviewers over here.

I did like the author's narrative style - it's simple and it puts you in the shoes of the protagonist. But on the other hand I feel that if the author is trying to make a point with this book it's buried in lots of lose ends.

The way things turn out for the protagonist - his getting arrested etc leave us feeling that he doesn't have control over his life. When actually, he did have some control over his life. Had he been more concerned about his proceedings he would have inquired with the lawyer about the possibilities and what things he should say. However, he couldn't care two hoots about this. So essentially the message is that you end up control life proportional to how much you want to control?

Loose ends:
- what happened to Marie? How did she see this whole thing? I don't see any message here.

- Is there a point about what kind of personality trait leads to a more fulfilling life?

- Or is the author trying to highlight the fallacies of the justice system?

- Or is it a satire on how the urban life can make one distant, lonely and cold?

- The ending made me feel dejected about life. But someone explained to me that you should not concern yourself with dying because that is not within our control. That might very well have been the point of the book but if that is the case then the author should have brought it out more clearly. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
Really short and simple book, but so good. Makes you think about life, time and what are we doing with it without making a big deal out it. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 229 (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 (148 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
Dunwoodie, PeterIntroductionsecondary 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
Urculo, EduardoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valente, José ÁngelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valente, José ÁngelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, MatthewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zevi, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:42 -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)

» see all 12 descriptions

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