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The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Stranger (original 1942; edition 1946)

by Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert (Translator)

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24,01528945 (3.97)1 / 476
The quick and dirty about The Stranger: Meusault kills a man while on a weekend vacation with his girlfriend. Part I entails the events leading up to the murder and Part II is post-murder arrest and trial. The interesting component to the story is Meursault's (although not surprising) attitude towards the crime. From the very beginning Meursault has an apathy towards life in general. When he is confronted with a marriage proposal or a job offer he feels nothing. He barely shows emotion when his mother dies. It's as if he doesn't care about anything and yet, curiously, he keeps an old scrapbook where he collects things from the newspapers that interest him. He doesn't seem to understand love/hate relationships like the one his neighbor has with his dog of eight years. Meursault's attention span is also something to note. He is often distracted by lights being too bright, the ringing of bells and the chatter of people around him. the presence of light is particularly interesting since it is the sun that "causes" Meursault to murder.
When Meursault murders a stranger for no apparent reason the fact he did it is not up for debate. It is the reason why that is questioned. Calling Meursault The Stranger is a contradiction because he is not a stranger in the traditional sense. He is not a loner or outcast. He has friends, coworkers, even a girlfriend. What Meursault is a stranger to is expected societal behavior, like mourning the loss of a parent or having feelings for someone he is in a sexual relationship with. Nothing that happens around Meursault has an emotional impact on him. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 7, 2012 |
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Read this many many years ago; I remembered little except the tone of absence and disconnectedness. Now I picked it up again to read in preparation for [b:The Meursault Investigation|25263557|The Meursault Investigation|Kamel Daoud|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1433252078s/25263557.jpg|41116368]. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Stunning and something totally new for me. His concise language strengthens his character's indifference towards, well, basically everything.

I read it in one go in about 3 hours. Can't wait to read more Camus.
  bartt95 | Apr 10, 2016 |
I began this book with great interest as it's a classic I've never read and felt it was a whole in my literary education. It reads well, but I found the protagonist so cold and unlikable that I put the book down for more than a month before picking it up again. Even then I would only read it for short periods of time. Indeed, when things go very wrong for Mersault I had absolutely no sympathy for him, though I certainly deplore the manner in which he is slated to die at the end of the book. I believe he was his own worst enemy and, as such, was destined to lose his case, as he certainly did. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Apr 3, 2016 |
Mr. Meaursault is an outsider, a stranger: a French person living in Algeria. He seems, at times, almost autistic in his lack of interest in the world around him; he finds no meaning in anything. He is willing to marry his girlfriend not because he loves her (love is meaningless) but because she wants him to. He is willing to help a neighbour get revenge on his mistress even though he barely knows him. Then, he commits a murder for no apparent reason.

Great writing, but I struggled to make sense of the murder, and of Meursault's reaction to his discussion with a priest after his arrest, both of which seemed to step outside of his character. Certainly lots to think about.

I highly recommend reading The Meursault Investigaton by Kamel Daoud as a companion to this novel as it brings an enriching perspective to the story. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 24, 2016 |
I can't decide on a rating for this - I'm going to have to think about it some more. Definitely brilliant, I'm just not sure how I feel about it! ( )
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Alienation, no one's real but me, blah blah blah. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I read it, finished it, and fairly enjoyed it. I found this to be a fascinating character study and found the ever so subtle shift in the last chapter quite enjoyable, and maybe unexpected. I'd maybe recommend this to others who'd like this kind of thing, but have no need to own it. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
i'm not really equipped to have a philosophical discussion, so i'm interested in (but not full of understanding of) this little book (and what i'll learn from my book club discussion of it). i read less philosophy and more autism spectrum in the main character, who simply cannot relate to people or understand their feelings and motivations. i understand the title to be this man not fitting in society, in life, in himself, to be apart from everyone and from life and from himself, but i want to know what more it means. i need to read up on existentialism and absurdism to get a better understanding of this one. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Feb 16, 2016 |
I don't think I can give this a rating yet, because I'm still trying to figure out how I felt about it. I simultaneously related with, pitied, and hated the protagonist. I found Meursault, the prosecutor, and the chaplain equally absurd. I was irritated by the misogyny (and unsure whether it belongs to the writer or the characters). I agreed with some of the philosophies the book seemed to be based on, but totally disagreed with others. It was definitely fascinating and thought-provoking; I finished it several hours ago and have been thinking about it ever since. ( )
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
I feel bad for anyone who lives through life thinking it doesn't matter. Everyone needs something—whether it be religion, relationships, passions, or whatever—to make life worth living. The narrator didn't care about anything, even though there were people who cared about him. So yes, it didn't matter that he was going to be executed for a crime he felt no remorse committing, because his life meant nothing to him. He was more worried about satisfying his desires and getting out of the hot sun than he was about finding joy in life. He found meaning in meaningless; I can't think of anything more depressing than that. ( )
  AngelClaw | Feb 3, 2016 |
I felt an eerie suspense reading this book as with no other. I felt sympathetic to the protagonist, and really was caught up in this slow haunting atmosphere. Very readable, but on the whole, more entertaining than provoking, and more sour than stimulating. Not much in the way of great one-liners, but for one - the one that saved the novel for me.

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

( )
  jculkin | Feb 1, 2016 |
I can't decide on a rating for this - I'm going to have to think about it some more. Definitely brilliant, I'm just not sure how I feel about it! ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
I can't decide on a rating for this - I'm going to have to think about it some more. Definitely brilliant, I'm just not sure how I feel about it! ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
A strange book, but quite profound. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it as such, I'm not sure it's intention was to be enjoyed. The style of writing is simplistic and bare, the characters and narrator distant and unfeeling. Yet it has something to say on the human condition and the lack of control we have in our lives, other than what we choose to feel is important.

As with all translated works,I wonder how accurate this version is. The translator's foreward states that he tried to match the style of the author in his work, rather than translate the deeper meanings. In this particular case I think that was probably a good idea.

I'd be interested in more work by the author, although looking at the other titles, it seems like they might all be of a similar nature. ( )
  fothpaul | Jan 28, 2016 |
The existential condition laid out in a novel with Camus' absurdism thrown in just to add to the dismal aspects of life (in case you happened to be feeling particularly positive). The book is divided into the main character's struggles before he murders and then after he has murdered as he wallows in prison. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Interesting. If I had read a little more exhistentialist writing in college I would have figured out what Robert Smith was thinking about in Killing an Arab! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Interesting. If I had read a little more exhistentialist writing in college I would have figured out what Robert Smith was thinking about in Killing an Arab! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This is a very intriguing book and makes for a lot of reflection when you finish reading it. The beginning is a very easy and interesting read. The last part of the book is very deep and challenging. I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in a thought-provoking read that will stay with you forever. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Meursault is an average Algerian man. Shortly after his mother dies, he chances to be involved in a murder. The first part of the book details his thoughts before the murder, and the second part after the murder. Meursault’s character is really much more important than the plot because he is practically a passive observer of his own life. He goes through the events of the novel without seeming to take part in them or form any opinions of them. Critics argue that this is Camus’s way of demonstrating that life has no meaning except the meaning humans give it.

I was a bit daunted by Camus before I read my first book by him (The Plague), and now that I’ve read a second one, I’m convinced that he’s not a hard author to read, he’s quite accessible, and I don’t know why I used to think he would make my head explode. This was very short (123 pages) and easy to read. Although it didn’t blow me away, it is very good, and I recommend it to anyone who isn’t bothered by dark subject matter. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Je sais que c'est un grand classique qu'on qualifie de chef d'oeuvre... Mais quelle froideur et quelle absence totale d'empathie... Je sais que c'est le but recherché, mais ça m'a vraiment horripilée ( )
  CathCD | Jan 16, 2016 |
The Stranger


4 stars

I REALLY enjoyed this book. The main character, Mersault, is a man of few words and emotions, which appeared cold and indifferent. I didn't believe it was intentional. I pitied him and believed him not to be a bad person. He simply viewed the world differently and his viewpoint and lack of apathy is what lead to his destruction. I won't tell the story but HIGHLY recommend this book. ( )
  Feleciak | Jan 11, 2016 |
Beautifully written in a seemingly simple style this is a wonderful novel that is easy to read in a short time but then stays with you as you mull over the meanings. The Outsider attends his mothers funeral and gives a thorough description of sitting with her body and the funeral. We then read about his life in his block of flats and meet some of his friends. He seems to have a happy and carefree life and his actions when he shoots a man seem to make no sense. Albert Camus describes the heat and the dust and how that feels so that you can feel the sun on our arms. It is the way that Albert Camus tells this story and how people feel that makes it interesting; the reader is left to fill in the gaps where you would expect drama and emotion to be. In the second part in the prison and then in the court the reader gets clues from what others say about how the trial is going. ( )
  Tifi | Dec 22, 2015 |
From the opening paragraph, to the final statement this book was amazing. The writing style of Camus is incredibly easy to read. I don't want to dumb down or discredit the author one bit, although the words were simple, the story was complex in of itself. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Joseph_Stelmaszek | Nov 29, 2015 |
A young man in Algiers drifts from his mother's funeral, back to his apartment house where he acquires a girlfriend with little effort, listens to a neighbor plotting to get even with his mistress and does nothing to stop it, then commits murder with ease. He describes the relaxing day at the beach that turns deadly in a voice that makes neither sound more important than the other, and doesn't bother defending his actions to the officials who attempt to figure out his motive to kill a stranger, often telling the reader that he would have made an effort to be understood, but "it didn't really matter". ( )
  mstrust | Nov 14, 2015 |
It's a bit hard to put my finger on it, but something about this book is extremely fascinating and interesting. It is incredibly well written and very efficiently drops you into the story and lets you experience the vivid sights, sounds and smells. The main character can seem somewhat inhuman and unrealistic, but at the same time, there is something very normal about him. Moreover, his relative lack of emotions creates a void that provokes many of your own emotions to fill it. The book has an interesting way of dealing with the themes of absurdity, responsibility and morality. It's all tied together with the ideas of existentialism - that life has no higher meaning beyond what we give it - and it's definitely a story you'll have to mull over for a while once you're done with it.

( )
  brikis98 | Nov 11, 2015 |
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182504, 0241950058, 0141389583

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