View Full Version : The Stranger by Albert Camus- Anyone read it?

12-05-2005, 05:22 PM
So I just read The Stranger by Albert Camus in about 2.5 hours. It's only about 120 pages and I could not put it down for the life of me. It's written as the thoughts of the main charachter. So all the thoughts are short and the narration is extremely scattered. The novel is also considered maybe the best publication in French of the 20th century.
Anyone ever read one of those books that are so powerful that your chest just feels heavy at the ending of the book? This is for sure on of them. So if anyone has read it, give me your thoughts on it.

12-05-2005, 05:28 PM
I love that book, it is genius--to this day I am undecided if he was acting in self defense or was guilty of murder. another good short bookis Jonathan livingston seagull must read


12-05-2005, 05:36 PM
Yeah it's amazing. Probably the best thing about the book is that there is no resolution to the crime but at the same time, he reaches a resolution with himself. I asked my English teach if she had read it and she told me no and that she knew nothing about it. So tomorrow, I'm going to plop it down on her desk and yell "READ IT!"

12-05-2005, 06:05 PM
I've read his stuff long time ago. Didn't like them much. If I have his book and 'little prince' in front of me, I will pick the latter 1001 times out of 1000 times. But I am glad you liked it.

12-05-2005, 06:44 PM
No where near Nausea. Camus was a political coward. Nietzsche is pretty good too. Very tough to read, though. Dostoevsky is great too, with his proto-existentialist nihilistic works. Welcome to existentialist literature.

12-05-2005, 07:12 PM
Funny because I just read Crime and Punishment before this and I just randomly picked up The Stranger. I didn't even know what I was looking for.

12-06-2005, 02:15 AM
I think Crime and Punishment is much more developed. Much more saddening too. Nausea, by Sartre, is SOOO much better than L'etranger.

12-06-2005, 01:40 PM
I am currently reading Brothers Karamazov, so far it is great, but not an easy read. I also read Nicholas & Alexandra which was one of the best books I have read to date. also read Dr. Zhivago. Will read crime & punishment next

DJ Edwards
12-07-2005, 06:32 AM
I think Crime and Punishment is much more developed. Much more saddening too. Nausea, by Sartre, is SOOO much better than L'etranger.

L'Etranger has that element to it that seems to defy traditional literary criticism. I've read it four times, all untranslated, and each time I felt like the narrative was sand slipping through my fingers. La Peste (Plague) is much more straight forward. Crime and Punishment has THE GREATEST ENDING OF ANY NOVEL I HAVE EVER READ, GOOD CALL ON THAT ONE.
My question is this: Anyone ever read Voyage au bout de la nuit by Celine (Journey to the end of the night)? WHAT AN INCREDIBLE NOVEL!!! Started doing a dissertation with Andrea Loiselle on that one. I recommend her critical essays on it as well as those by Monfils from Emory

12-07-2005, 11:18 AM
I read "The Stranger" in high school. The Cure wrote a song about it..."Killing an Arab". Orson Welles made a movie out of it. "The Stranger" is one of the best short novels ever written.

12-07-2005, 03:41 PM
That's funny, I love The Cure and I have heard that song 1000 times but I never made the connection. Learned something new today:D

12-07-2005, 04:14 PM
If you like Camus, you might like Jean-Paul Sartre as well.

lude popper
12-08-2005, 08:26 PM
meursault represents the absurd (his actions and motives are never explained).

The court room represents society's desire to impose meaning on the absurd.

In the court room they try to read his behavior morally, but he was amoral, without purpose, drained of intent. Note how they interpret his relationship to his mother. They keep straining for meanings and motives that clearly aren't there: Meursault was empty (absurd); his actions could not be explained by a moral language game. He was not good, evil, innocent or guilty.

He did not fit into their world view so he was sentanced to death.

Right before his death, however, the Chaplain tries to get him to embrace Christianity, i.e., meaning, order, purpose.

[In Camus' day, Christianity was primarily charged with saving lost souls, today it's Yoga, Monday Night Football and consumerism]

Meusault is defiant and does not accept the Chaplain; he is a threat to the rational order. He will not let society define him!

At the very end he realizes that his own absurdity (emptiness) is mirrored by the universe. He finally discovers meaning and with it passion and happiness.

02-06-2006, 08:23 PM
I've read The Stranger by Albert Camus. I think you guys over rate it because I found it slow moving and lacking in profound realizations.
However, I just read Guts by Chuck Palahniuk and found it brutally honest and daring. And hilarious! It seems like it has an unsophisticated tone(at least perhaps compared to The Stranger) but it's great in exploring the edge of basic human behaviour(and anatomy).

croatian sensation
02-07-2006, 09:25 AM
It's on the list of books you have to read for the language&literature class in senior year in high school here. I read it and didn't like it much... (usually when someone makes me read something I don't like it). It's just that I don't enjoy reading "demanding" books. The only one I liked was Flaubert's Madame Bovary. But that's probably cause of all the things we studied about I liked realism most.

btw. Hartzy...don't tell me your teacher knew nothing about Stranger? OMG.. like everyone in Croatia who attended high school has at least heard of the book, if they managed to avoid reading it.
Don't you have a list of books you must read every year in high school? I got into trouble (got an F) when the teacher figured I didn't read Hemingway's "For whom the bell rings" in the senior year.

02-08-2006, 11:36 AM
The best fiction of the 20th century? Hard to say, but "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu" by Proust, read in the original French, is certainly up there with Joyce's "Ulysses". Camus in the original French edition is something you'd do in college French class. I know we read some Camus, but that was in the 19th century. :) I think I read "La Chute". Was that Camus? Good grief, I've forgotten more than I remember....

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