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The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague (original 1947; edition 1972)

by Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert (Translator)

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14,148163270 (3.95)2 / 474
Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city of Oran. A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.
Title:The Plague
Authors:Albert Camus
Other authors:Stuart Gilbert (Translator)
Info:Vintage (1972), Paperback, 279 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Literary Fiction

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The Plague by Albert Camus (Author) (1947)


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English (140)  Italian (5)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  French (4)  German (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (163)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
Rated: B ( )
  jmcdbooks | Dec 23, 2019 |
One morning the streets of the dull, complacent city of Oran are overrun with dead and dying rats. Soon after people begin to show signs of the bubonic plague. The government hesitates to take action, allowing the infection to grip the entire city. Clearly, this is the start of another rollicking tale of life and loving in French Algeria from Albert Camus, the author of such light-hearted fare as 'The Stranger' and who has come to embody the spirit of joie de vivre.

OK, so 'The Plague' isn't exactly a bright jaunt, but Camus is nowhere near as bleak as his reputation would make out. From very early on its clear that the plague represents something more than contagion. This novel is a condemnation towards how the government and general populace failed to react to the threat of Nazism, but it also highlights the resolve shown by those who remained dedicated to fighting it even when the situation was at its most hopeless.

Unlike the more heavily philosophical 'The Stranger', 'The Plague' works well as a straightforward genre novel that anticipates disease-thrillers, or whatever people call 'The Andromeda Strain'. Camus' style, at least as rendered here, is clear and matter-of-fact and without the numbness that characterized Mersault. The characters here mostly fill the roles their character-type and Camus' plot demands, but there are many moments of genuine human feeling. Early on I was touched by a brief aside about the effects of quarantine on those families and lovers who were separated. Most opted to stay apart rather than risk exposure to infection, but the wife of Dr. Castel, before an indifferent spouse, learns the depths of her affection because of their separation. She returns to Oran. Nothing more is said about her, but Camus putting such scenes as that one right alongside the horrors of the plague emphasizes that the best in humanity often comes out in dark times.

The book is not for the faint of heart, Camus does not revel in gory details the way modern genre authors would, but some sections, especially Part III which among other issues, covers the dilemma of dealing with hundreds of bodies a week and the gradual elimination out of necessity of all respect for the grieving and the dead. It is as gruesome as it is short. I was sickened and could only think of the mass graves uncovered in postwar Europe. Camus captured the strong emotions of that time and preserved them in this book, published only two years after the end of World War II. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
This book was about a bubonic plague that struck a North African town called Oran. The people in the town ignore the signs that what is going on is a plague until over 300 people are dying a day. A Dr. Rieux finally convinces the town's authorities that there is definitely a problem and they gate off the town. No one can come in and no one can come out. Dr. Rieux has just sent his unwell wife off to a sanatorium before the plaque broke out, and now his mother - who he called to help him in his wife's absence - is in the town with him. Dr. Rieux and several of his companions work 20 hours a day to try and help, but what really happens is they watch helplessly as 100's of people die. In the end - not all of the main characters survive the plague, but the town does come out on the other side and opens its gates once again.

This is a pretty good book. It took me awhile to get into it because it is intense. I found that like some other books, I couldn't have the TV on in the background or I found myself re-reading passages several times. It was not a difficult book, it just requires your full attention. The main characters are great, and each of them struggles to find the meaning in the plague. The book makes you think about what you would do if the plague to place in your own town. Would you try your best to get past the gate and get out (like one character did)? Would you hide? Would you help? These days we live in a world of immediate over reaction, that I wonder what the majority of people would do in this case.

I think it is a book worth reading. It is an old book, but I recommend picking it up and making it one of those books you read in your lifetime.

( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
An impressive imagination of the effects of a plague in a 20th century city. There is no catharsis: it is more like a history. The city is Oran, but remarkably there are only one or two mentions of the existence of Arabs in the city: one must assume that the more crowded and poorer areas were Arab. The dramatis personae are French and at least nominally Catholic, so it might as well be any French city.
  jgoodwll | Dec 12, 2018 |

Camus always conceived of the universe in terms of paradoxes and contrasts; his occasional focus on appearance versus reality, reflected by a systematic exposition of symbolism, imagery, and allegory, and then approaching to the subject of death, is exceptionally good. Of all the readings I’ve done, no one can describe man’s confrontation – and cohabitation – with death so vividly and on such an epic scale. A Farrago of desolation of the human condition and suffering, beauty and absurdity. This is a must read!

“Do you believe in God, doctor?"

No - but what does that really mean? I'm fumbling in the dark, struggling to make something out. But I've long ceased finding that original.”
( )
  iSatyajeet | Nov 21, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (71 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camus, AlbertAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corsari, WillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dal Fabbro, BeniaminoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jenner, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JuhaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'It is as reasonable to represent one kind of imprisonment by another, as it is to represent anything that really exists by that which exists not! -' ('Robinson Crusoe's preface' to the third volume of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe).
First words
The unusual events described in this chronicle occurred in 194- at Oran.
Les curieux événements qui font le sujet de cette chronique se sont produits en 194., à Oran.
Le matin du 16 avril, le docteur Bernard Rieux sortit de son cabinet et buta sur un rat mort, au milieu du palier
"Oran, however, seems to be a town without intimations; in other words, completely modern."
The distinction can be made between men and, for example, dogs; men’s deaths are checked and entered up.
"They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences."
"In normal times all of us know, whether consciously or not, that there is no love which can't be bettered; nevertheless we reconcile ourselves more or less easily to the fact that ours has never risen above the average."
"You'd almost think they expected to be given medals for it. But what does that mean—'plague'? Just life, no more than that."
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Orano è colpita da un'epidemia inesorabile e tremenda. Isolata con un cordone sanitario dal resto del mondo, affamata, incapace di fermare la pestilenza, la città diventa il palcoscenico e il vetrino da esperimento per le passioni di un'umanità al limite tra disgregazione e solidarietà. La fede religiosa, l'edonismo di chi non crede alle astrazioni, ma neppure è capace di "essere felice da solo", il semplice sentimento del proprio dovere sono i protagonisti della vicenda; l'indifferenza, il panico, lo spirito burocratico e l'egoismo gretto gli alleati del morbo. Scritto da Camus secondo una dimensione corale e con una scrittura che sfiora e supera la confessione, "La peste" è un romanzo attuale e vivo, una metafora in cui il presente continua a riconoscersi.
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185139, 0141045515, 0141049235

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