Reading Project 2016 – The Stranger #1

Happy New Year to you all! I’m continuing on with my reading project this year. I did well last year reading a total of 12 books (12!).

My first review for 2016 is supposedly a classic called The Stranger by Albert Camus. I read the translated English version (since I can’t read French). Marky Mark apparently read and studied this when he was in high school so yeah this is quite an ancient book. Ha! (I’m being funny). It was published in 1942.

So the story is written in first person narrative (much like a diary but without the formality of date entries) and starts off with a man name Meursault. He is going out of town for his mum’s funeral. At first I didn’t know where it is set – there are French names but it ‘felt’ too hot for any French towns that I know of. Sounds more like somewhere in north Africa. Anyway, after three days of mourning Meursault (who didn’t even look at his mum’s face before she was buried) returns to his apartment and goes back to work.

He spends his week days going to work and his weekends with his girlfriend Marie. One day, his neighbour Raymond (who is a woman beater and a petty criminal) invites him and Marie to the beach. There, Meursault and Raymond meet up with a few Arabs that are after Raymond. Due to the ‘heat’ Meursault shots and kills one of them. He gets convicted for murder, goes to jail and gets executed. That’s it. That’s the story.

Why is this a classic? Why did (do) high school students study this book? What’s so good about it? It’s just about a man of no consequence. He doesn’t care about anything. And I found him totally annoying. Maybe I’m not literally attuned to the subtleties of any philosophical point of views that Camus is trying to make but I don’t care. I didn’t particularly like the book. And let’s leave it at that!


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