Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Stranger (original 1942; edition 1946)

by Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,44526547 (3.97)1 / 441
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 |
English (234)  Spanish (8)  French (7)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (2)  Danish (2)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  English (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (265)
Showing 1-25 of 234 (next | show all)
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 |
some people will dislike this because of how casually camus seems to throw everything away. at the end, some might say, everything just withers into nothingness, and hence everything is nothing much different from the other. orange juice and mud all come out as piss in the end, as user "Jr Bacdayan" despairs below, and also living and not-living, murder and not-murder; they too do not change the Fundamental Equation of the Universe, so who gives a shit? now, i do not think this is a correct way of seeing this novel. it all comes down to how the ultimate death is a metaphor, not an actual event that actually happens; and in fact a metaphor for a new life, from whence, having got rid of all that oppressive noise before us, we can move forth into the void and potentially - nay, necessarily - construct a new morality, one that is expressed through the individual and her experience, rather than relying on ridiculous assertions of universal Truth, Justice, and other such Capital concerns.

others, i'm sure, will feel all this angsty screaming into the aether about the pointlessness of existence to be tired, trite, and filled with high school pretensions of misplaced profundity. be that as it may, but i feel this is merely an aesthetic preference, in the same way that ardent fans of this sort of thing will instinctively dismiss works of bright colours and lurid passions as contrived manipulations of our easiest emotions.

still others will just find the stripped down "story" to be boring. ah, whatever. i liked it. very good. lovely. ( )
  lisaeves | Nov 1, 2015 |
later ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
later ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
later ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
I'm pretty sure the narrator is supposed to be a psychopath, but it's remarkable how similar that looks to a person in the depths of a profound depression.
1 vote jen.e.moore | Sep 9, 2015 |
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." ( )
2 vote 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 |
The Stranger (also known as The Outsider or L’Étranger) tells the story of Meursault, an unsympathetic French Algerian, who after attending his mother’s funeral, finds himself killing an Arab man. The novel follows a first-person narrative that explores the events before and after this murder. Albert Camus said is best when he said “I summarised The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.”

On the surface The Stranger is the story of an emotionless protagonist; Meursault does not care about anything and could be considered a sociopath. However, this novel is often cited as an example of Camus’ philosophy on the absurd and existentialism. So in order to fully grasp the intent behind this classic novel, we must look into just what existentialism is and more practically absurdism.

The absurd is often referring to the conflicting philosophy that humans have a tendency to seek out value and meaning in life. However absurdism believes it is logically and humanly impossible to find any meaning of life. Philosophers may have very different doctrines but they generally believe that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject. Though existentialism comes from the disorientation or confusion that we are living in a meaningless (or absurd) world.

For Albert Camus, The Stranger is an exploration into the meaning of life and if life has no meaning what is the purpose of morality. Meursault’s detachment from the world is a result of his conclusion that life is meaningless; “The chaplain knew the game well too, I could tell right away: his gaze never faltered. And his voice didn’t falter, either, when he said, ‘Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?’ ‘Yes,’ I said.” Paradoxically, it was only after being sentenced to death, that Meursault was able to obtain some sense of happiness.

Without an understanding of Albert Camus’ philosophical ideas, I do not think that the reader will have any hope in truly understand or appreciating this novel. However I have heard that The Stranger has been an option for high school students (especially in America) to study. I wonder how many students fall into the trap of picking this novel thinking it was short only to discover how difficult it is to analyse. I do not have enough of an understanding of absurdism or existential philosophy to full appreciate The Stranger. However re-reading this novel has helped me understand this enough to enjoy the Camus’ philosophical ideas.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/05/02/the-stranger-by-albert-camus/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | May 5, 2015 |
Não falta quem chame Meursault de sociopata ou psicopata. Fixar etiquetas, afinal, torna a vida mais simples. Mas o pobre Camus deve revolver-se no túmulo ao ouvir isso. Ele usou de enorme clareza de espírito para escrever a mais clara das prosas, sobre um homem de mal com a vida. Ao ler sua história, somos levados a pensar não só acerca de nossa própria vida, mas também nas de quase toda a sociedade. Na literatura do absurdo - da qual L’Étranger é o modelo mais - em lugar da rebelião dos meios, acontece a pura ausência de fim, de qualquer fim (José Guilherme Merquior). "Les hommes aussi sécretent de l’inhumain", diz Camus em Le Mythe de Sisyphe, e o inumano segregado é a consciência passiva, mecânica, que renunciou a elaborar significações e portanto a designar finalidades. O homem que constata o absurdo renuncia a todos os projetos; não reconhece mais nenhuma finalidade. O herói do mundo fantástico, entretanto, continua perseguindo os fins num universo que a insolência dos meios torna hostil, torna cruel, torna indecifrável – mas não absurdo. Podemos fechar nossas mentes para os problemas de Mersault, mas estaremos então evitando abri-los ao que Camus estava tentando dizer. Nada de psicologia pop, por favor, ela é uma inimiga do pensamento! ( )
  jgcorrea | Apr 24, 2015 |
I admit that I wasn't very jazzed with this book at the conclusion with part 1 but, part 2 more than made up for it. There was almost a cumulative cadence that progressed the story from boring, to mildly amusing, to interesting, to fascinating, and finishing with absolutely essential. And at the conclusion, I felt vindicated and renewed; with a deep connection to Meursault. In that spirit of renewal and kinship, I realized that every part of the story leading up this was necessary and important.

I could even go so far as to say that The Stranger is life affirming. And in the telling of it, the author gave me the strength to accept my own mortality with striking clearness. What at first seemed to be annoying indifference blossomed into stark existentialism that gives me personal insight. This book is a masterpiece in every way (from the literary to the philosophical)! ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
A surprisingly straightforward read for someone with little better than intermediate level school French. A short novel written in simple prose. But the simplicity hides the complexity of the principal character and his story. It just shows that ideas are as important as writing talent for a novelist. ( )
  Steve38 | Mar 4, 2015 |
I do not understand all of he fuss over this book. The writing was dry and the main character was apathetic and borderline sociopathic. I can read almost any genre and I found this book hard to get past the few scenes. After his mom died I lost interest and had to force myself to get to page 82. I skimmed through the remaining 41 pages and looked up the summary on sparknotes. The only reason I did this extra step was to see if I missed anything while skimming. I wouldn't recommend this book even though it is only 123 pages. ( )
  Natalie_Walker | Feb 13, 2015 |
One of the most thought-provoking works I have ever read. I zoomed through Camus' existential novel on a trip through the Mojave Desert and Grand Canyon. His themes, the meaninglessness of life and the importance of the physical world, resonated with me as I stood among vivid nature and sweltering heat in an expansive and void land, as Meursalt, the titular character, did. Like the jury in the novel, I was quick to assume the worst of him, but his first person narration compelled me to question imposing social constructs such as law and religion on existence. Meursalt is an unlikely protagonist; smoking at his mother's funeral and feeling no remorse for a murder, and subsequently despised by society. Yet Camus crafts a novel which compels the reader to see beyond mob mentality and prejudices - not all actions must have meaning, and this suits him just fine. ( )
  MMorstan | Jan 30, 2015 |
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 |
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 | Oct 19, 2014 |
Hard to read... not in the sense that it's a difficult book to understand but difficult to swallow. Depressing in a very bad way. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Well written by a gifted writer but not his best although touted as it. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-25 of 234 (next | show all)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
41 avail.
269 wanted
27 pay9 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.97)
0.5 8
1 64
1.5 18
2 307
2.5 76
3 1049
3.5 291
4 2153
4.5 306
5 1868


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182504, 0241950058, 0141389583

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,876,565 books! | Top bar: Always visible