The Stranger by Albert Camus

I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.
— The Stranger

FIRST POST OF THE YEAR!!  Happy 2017!! New year means NEW reading goals. I am so excited to explore new genres of books and authors. I'm looking forward to more New Adult novels, Historical Fiction, Crime Stories, Classic Literature, Contemporaries and most importantly diverse reads, both story AND author! I have finished my first book of 2017, 'The Stranger' by Albert Camus. This book is translated from French. I've only ever read one other translated book which you can read my review here. As I expressed in my other blog post, English sentiments, sayings, colloquialisms etc. cannot be expected to mean the same thing in a different language or within a different culture. However the overall tragedy of this story, I believe, cannot be misinterpreted. It's quite short, 123 pages, and I read it in like a half hour having finished half of it in flight to Los Angeles back in September. It's intriguing and I couldn't put it down.


Synopsis:

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in English in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.

The Stranger by Albert Camus Original Title: L'E'tranger in PUBLISHED March 28, 1989 GENRE:  PAGES: 123 FORMAT : PAPERBACK SOURCE: Purchased PACING: {4/5}

The Stranger by Albert Camus
Original Title: L'E'tranger in PUBLISHED March 28, 1989
GENRE: 
PAGES: 123
FORMAT : PAPERBACK
SOURCE: Purchased
PACING: {4/5}

I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world.
— The Stranger

Meursault's character is reminiscent of Theo Decker from Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch' . Both character's relationships with their mothers played a crucial role in who they turned out to be as adults. I wonder if Donna Tartt ever read this book and took inspiration from it for Theo's character. I have a weird relationship in my head with DT LOL. Both characters are narcissistic and indifferent to consequences, it seems, primarily after the loss of their mothers. They were left empty, so proper judgement of questionable situations was abandoned and both characters were unredeemable in the end. Other similarities between Theo and Meursault were their broken relationships with women. Meursault noted that he would only Marie, his offbeat companion, if SHE asked HIM. He couldn't love her or any woman that wasn't Maman, his mother.

I found it interesting that Meursault referred to his mother as Maman; almost like a child. His need to maneuver in life as such, without a care in the world, is what ultimately lead him to prison. He encounters a vile and deplorable gentleman in his apartment building, Salamano. Salamano is a ticking time bomb, abusive to women and controlling. Of course, Meursault in all of his stoic glory befriends him and ignores clear warning signs. Salamano gets into an altercation with an 'Arab', {the victim is referred as such in the book} involves Meursault and Meursault kills him. He goes to court, is found guilty and sentenced to death.

This story is told in two parts. The first part is Meursault's life before the killing and the second part is after. Part Two of this book is where Camus reveals the emotional and  psychological state of the main character.  Even being stripped of his liberty and freedom did not lead him to any sort of revelation about his life. He lacked remorse and empathy not because he was immoral necessarily, but because he was empty. He had given up on himself. The one person that was his safety net, Maman, was gone. He was alone; a stranger in the world and to it; rid of hope. And in this despair he found "happiness" only in memories of Maman. He'd crawled all the way through every emotion to the side of nothingness. An altercation with the prison chaplain reveals Meursault's unwillingness to face his demons. He didn't want to be forgiven or redeemed. He wanted to be left to his own dark devices and in the end he said in order to feel less alone, spectator's should arrive on the day of his execution and "greet him with cries of hate."

This book was completely tragic and disheartening in every sense of the word. What is it to be so lonely in extreme despondency that even jeers from others becomes 'something'? Meursault only desired for those spectator's to confirm that which he already felt deep with himself; self hatred. I highly recommend this book, but be prepared to be very bothered.

My Rating: {4/5}