Book Review: ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus

albert-camuss-the-strangerLike I had mentioned in my earlier post that my next target would definitely be ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus, here I am with a review of the book as well as its enticing theme of Existentialism. In spite of heralding myself as a good student of literature, I got to read this novel only after my graduation. well I can say that reading this novel in the interregnum of my graduation and post-graduation was a kind of penitence that I had to perform in order to peacefully and righteously enter my Masters in English literature.

Far from imagined and I confess I had bought the book online rather than traditionally buying it from a bookstore, the book came as a surprise to me. Meek, petite, not more than a 150 pages enough to create a furor inside you once you read it with an open mind.It can be greatly misunderstood as a plain murder story with rather no plot at all but the hammer strikes in when one starts noticing the protagonist’s most blatant reactions to the events of life; describing his inherent psychology and how often we react without any reason. The crux of the book and also related to the idea of Existentialism is the climax of the book that is the murder. What compels Meursault to commit a murder that was not at all associated to him and why he found accepting death as the ultimate decision rather than giving explanations or fighting the trial is one major question that the book implants in the reader’s mind for sure.

Moreover it’s funny how Camus has been able to build upon so huge a theme as Existentialism in so tiny a piece of work that is not only just enough but remains to be one of the manifestos of such dogma. Truly the interpretation of this text lies solely on the reader who may decide whether or not to grasp the hidden essence of this ‘ism’ or to simply flow with the skeleton of the story. In my view, my penitence has been fulfilled as I was able to complete this piece of literature before the start of my Masters in Literature and I hope my penitence sails me towards salvation at the end of two upcoming years.


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