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Outsider

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Books : The Outsider (Everyman's Library Classics) (Hardcover)

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Books : The Outsider (Everyman's Library Classics) (Hardcover)
Albert Camus' laconic masterpiece about a Frenchman who murders an Arab in colonial Algeria was famous in its time for diagnosing a state of alienation and spiritual exhaustion which summed up the mood of the mid-twentieth century. This book shows that this early success was no passing fashion.

Specifications

Publisher
Everyman Chess
Book Format
Hardcover
Number of Pages
127
Author
Albert Camus
ISBN-13
9781857151398
Publication Date
October, 1998
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.31 x 0.63 x 5.24 Inches
ISBN-10
1857151399

Customer Reviews

5 stars
44
4 stars
54
3 stars
32
2 stars
8
1 star
3

Top mentions

Most helpful positive review
9 customers found this helpful
Meursault, the anti-he...
Meursault, the anti-hero of Camus masterpiece L'etranger continually puts the reader on the back foot: as he appears as an intensely self-interested man, but also an innocent abroad, he can be an extremely sensual man, but also a callous individual, he seems to be both a rebel and a man desperately trying to conform, above all he is an absurd man and we witness his growing self-awareness of the world around him that he struggles to come to terms with. The novel takes the form of a bildungsroman, as we witness his growth through adversity following the choices he makes in a life, which he comes to believe is absurd.. I read this back in the 1970's and found I could identify with Meursault the sensual self-interested young man of part 1 of the novel, however I could not get to grips with his seeming acquiescence to his fate in part 2, putting it down to the establishments vindictiveness towards a young man, who appeared to rebel against society. Re-reading it again last week I discovered along with Meursault, that his fate is signposted from the start and it his own intellectual acknowledgement of his variance to all the people that he comes into contact with, that leads him to accept his destiny.. Camus takes us into the mind of Meursault relating his story in the first person, right from the arresting first couple of lines: "Mother died today, Or maybe , yesterday; I can't be sure", until the final paragraph of the novel where he says "No one, no one in the world had any right to weep for her" In between Meursault is launched on a bildungsroman that is so beautifully crafted in just over 100 pages that the reader can look back with ease to the relevant issues in an extraordinary life. Meursault is a man who does not understand how to fit into the society in which he lives. From the opening scene of his travel and attendance at his mother's funeral, his missteps are many and his embarrassment leads him to shut himself off from other people. He remains true to his feelings but his inability to adapt to the conventions of daily life forces him to lie to himself and to others. It is Camus skill which enables us to almost see the workings of a mind in turmoil and yet be sympathetic to his struggles. It is Meursalt's behaviour at his mother's funeral that will come to haunt him when he is on trial for murder. The singular event that leads to Meursault's epiphany is the killing of an Arab on the beach. This is the start of his awareness of who he is and Camus ends part one of the book with some marvellous prose: "And so with that crisp whip-crack sound, it all began. I shook off my sweat and the clinging veil of light. I knew I'd shattered the balance of the day, the spacious calm of the beach on which I had been happy. But I fired four shots more into the inert body, on which they left no visible trace. And each successive shot was another loud fateful rap on the door of my undoing.". Part 2 of the novel describes Meursault's imprisonment and trial for murder, where his past is examined to ascertain/prove that he is an outsider and as such a monster: a danger to the society in which he lives. Our sympathies are all with Meursault as he stumbles towards an understanding of his situation, that he can do so, is the triumph of this novel. His approaching death forces him to reflect on his life and he realises that he is living in an absurd world. His actions have been that of an absurd man and it is now when he can recognise this fact that he can be free. He says when under immense pressure from a priest to finally believe in God: "I'd been right, I was still right, I was always right. I'd passed my life in a certain way, and I might have passed it in a different way, if I'd have felt like it........... From the dark horizons of my future a sort of slow persistent breeze had been blowing towards me, all my life long from the years that were to come" Camus has taken the reader into the absurd world: A world where life has no meaning and we are all at the mercy of an irrational unfeeling universe. It is only when we can finally accept this and our imminent death that we can truly be free. Free that is to live to the utmost in the years up to our death, because our reason tells us there is nothing else. Meursault becomes an absurd hero, because he no longer fears death and can get on with the rest of his life, however long or short that might be. An understanding of Camus thoughts on an absurd sensitivity adds much to an understanding of L'etranger. Albert Camus has written a beautiful thought provoking book which has layers of meaning, but on whatever level you come to it I don't think you can fail to be moved by the fate of Meursault. I was when I first read it and again for different reason on my recent re-read. I say beautiful because of the powerful descriptive writing that makes us see the town in Algeria where this takes place. We feel the malevolent and benevolent power of the sun; another key theme in the novel as it seems to cajole and then goad Meursault into action and non action. The opening chapter describing his mother's funeral is a masterful piece of writing. At the end of the novel Meursault has come along way from the man who near the start of the novel confessed that he "didn't like Sundays" I read the penguin modern classics edition, which has a translation by Stuart Gilbert dating from 1961. I cannot recommend this as I feel that Gilbert takes too many liberties with the text, for example his translation of the title of the book is The Outsider rather than The Stranger. I read it alongside the original French text and thought that Camus's words speak for themselves and so a more modern translation like that of Mathew Ward may be better. A 20th century classic and a must read 5 stars.
Most helpful negative review
3 customers found this helpful
I didnt get this nove...
I didn't get this novel. Just not my style. I understand that it's part of the style of the book, but it's very blah: I walked home. I ate dinner. I watched people out my window. I smoked. I ate some more. I killed a dude. I was completely unconnected to the story. Which is kinda the point, but I didn't enjoy it.
Most helpful positive review
9 customers found this helpful
Meursault, the anti-he...
Meursault, the anti-hero of Camus masterpiece L'etranger continually puts the reader on the back foot: as he appears as an intensely self-interested man, but also an innocent abroad, he can be an extremely sensual man, but also a callous individual, he seems to be both a rebel and a man desperately trying to conform, above all he is an absurd man and we witness his growing self-awareness of the world around him that he struggles to come to terms with. The novel takes the form of a bildungsroman, as we witness his growth through adversity following the choices he makes in a life, which he comes to believe is absurd.. I read this back in the 1970's and found I could identify with Meursault the sensual self-interested young man of part 1 of the novel, however I could not get to grips with his seeming acquiescence to his fate in part 2, putting it down to the establishments vindictiveness towards a young man, who appeared to rebel against society. Re-reading it again last week I discovered along with Meursault, that his fate is signposted from the start and it his own intellectual acknowledgement of his variance to all the people that he comes into contact with, that leads him to accept his destiny.. Camus takes us into the mind of Meursault relating his story in the first person, right from the arresting first couple of lines: "Mother died today, Or maybe , yesterday; I can't be sure", until the final paragraph of the novel where he says "No one, no one in the world had any right to weep for her" In between Meursault is launched on a bildungsroman that is so beautifully crafted in just over 100 pages that the reader can look back with ease to the relevant issues in an extraordinary life. Meursault is a man who does not understand how to fit into the society in which he lives. From the opening scene of his travel and attendance at his mother's funeral, his missteps are many and his embarrassment leads him to shut himself off from other people. He remains true to his feelings but his inability to adapt to the conventions of daily life forces him to lie to himself and to others. It is Camus skill which enables us to almost see the workings of a mind in turmoil and yet be sympathetic to his struggles. It is Meursalt's behaviour at his mother's funeral that will come to haunt him when he is on trial for murder. The singular event that leads to Meursault's epiphany is the killing of an Arab on the beach. This is the start of his awareness of who he is and Camus ends part one of the book with some marvellous prose: "And so with that crisp whip-crack sound, it all began. I shook off my sweat and the clinging veil of light. I knew I'd shattered the balance of the day, the spacious calm of the beach on which I had been happy. But I fired four shots more into the inert body, on which they left no visible trace. And each successive shot was another loud fateful rap on the door of my undoing.". Part 2 of the novel describes Meursault's imprisonment and trial for murder, where his past is examined to ascertain/prove that he is an outsider and as such a monster: a danger to the society in which he lives. Our sympathies are all with Meursault as he stumbles towards an understanding of his situation, that he can do so, is the triumph of this novel. His approaching death forces him to reflect on his life and he realises that he is living in an absurd world. His actions have been that of an absurd man and it is now when he can recognise this fact that he can be free. He says when under immense pressure from a priest to finally believe in God: "I'd been right, I was still right, I was always right. I'd passed my life in a certain way, and I might have passed it in a different way, if I'd have felt like it........... From the dark horizons of my future a sort of slow persistent breeze had been blowing towards me, all my life long from the years that were to come" Camus has taken the reader into the absurd world: A world where life has no meaning and we are all at the mercy of an irrational unfeeling universe. It is only when we can finally accept this and our imminent death that we can truly be free. Free that is to live to the utmost in the years up to our death, because our reason tells us there is nothing else. Meursault becomes an absurd hero, because he no longer fears death and can get on with the rest of his life, however long or short that might be. An understanding of Camus thoughts on an absurd sensitivity adds much to an understanding of L'etranger. Albert Camus has written a beautiful thought provoking book which has layers of meaning, but on whatever level you come to it I don't think you can fail to be moved by the fate of Meursault. I was when I first read it and again for different reason on my recent re-read. I say beautiful because of the powerful descriptive writing that makes us see the town in Algeria where this takes place. We feel the malevolent and benevolent power of the sun; another key theme in the novel as it seems to cajole and then goad Meursault into action and non action. The opening chapter describing his mother's funeral is a masterful piece of writing. At the end of the novel Meursault has come along way from the man who near the start of the novel confessed that he "didn't like Sundays" I read the penguin modern classics edition, which has a translation by Stuart Gilbert dating from 1961. I cannot recommend this as I feel that Gilbert takes too many liberties with the text, for example his translation of the title of the book is The Outsider rather than The Stranger. I read it alongside the original French text and thought that Camus's words speak for themselves and so a more modern translation like that of Mathew Ward may be better. A 20th century classic and a must read 5 stars.
Most helpful negative review
3 customers found this helpful
I didnt get this nove...
I didn't get this novel. Just not my style. I understand that it's part of the style of the book, but it's very blah: I walked home. I ate dinner. I watched people out my window. I smoked. I ate some more. I killed a dude. I was completely unconnected to the story. Which is kinda the point, but I didn't enjoy it.
1-5 of 141 reviews

Meursault, the anti-he...

Meursault, the anti-hero of Camus masterpiece L'etranger continually puts the reader on the back foot: as he appears as an intensely self-interested man, but also an innocent abroad, he can be an extremely sensual man, but also a callous individual, he seems to be both a rebel and a man desperately trying to conform, above all he is an absurd man and we witness his growing self-awareness of the world around him that he struggles to come to terms with. The novel takes the form of a bildungsroman, as we witness his growth through adversity following the choices he makes in a life, which he comes to believe is absurd.. I read this back in the 1970's and found I could identify with Meursault the sensual self-interested young man of part 1 of the novel, however I could not get to grips with his seeming acquiescence to his fate in part 2, putting it down to the establishments vindictiveness towards a young man, who appeared to rebel against society. Re-reading it again last week I discovered along with Meursault, that his fate is signposted from the start and it his own intellectual acknowledgement of his variance to all the people that he comes into contact with, that leads him to accept his destiny.. Camus takes us into the mind of Meursault relating his story in the first person, right from the arresting first couple of lines: "Mother died today, Or maybe , yesterday; I can't be sure", until the final paragraph of the novel where he says "No one, no one in the world had any right to weep for her" In between Meursault is launched on a bildungsroman that is so beautifully crafted in just over 100 pages that the reader can look back with ease to the relevant issues in an extraordinary life. Meursault is a man who does not understand how to fit into the society in which he lives. From the opening scene of his travel and attendance at his mother's funeral, his missteps are many and his embarrassment leads him to shut himself off from other people. He remains true to his feelings but his inability to adapt to the conventions of daily life forces him to lie to himself and to others. It is Camus skill which enables us to almost see the workings of a mind in turmoil and yet be sympathetic to his struggles. It is Meursalt's behaviour at his mother's funeral that will come to haunt him when he is on trial for murder. The singular event that leads to Meursault's epiphany is the killing of an Arab on the beach. This is the start of his awareness of who he is and Camus ends part one of the book with some marvellous prose: "And so with that crisp whip-crack sound, it all began. I shook off my sweat and the clinging veil of light. I knew I'd shattered the balance of the day, the spacious calm of the beach on which I had been happy. But I fired four shots more into the inert body, on which they left no visible trace. And each successive shot was another loud fateful rap on the door of my undoing.". Part 2 of the novel describes Meursault's imprisonment and trial for murder, where his past is examined to ascertain/prove that he is an outsider and as such a monster: a danger to the society in which he lives. Our sympathies are all with Meursault as he stumbles towards an understanding of his situation, that he can do so, is the triumph of this novel. His approaching death forces him to reflect on his life and he realises that he is living in an absurd world. His actions have been that of an absurd man and it is now when he can recognise this fact that he can be free. He says when under immense pressure from a priest to finally believe in God: "I'd been right, I was still right, I was always right. I'd passed my life in a certain way, and I might have passed it in a different way, if I'd have felt like it........... From the dark horizons of my future a sort of slow persistent breeze had been blowing towards me, all my life long from the years that were to come" Camus has taken the reader into the absurd world: A world where life has no meaning and we are all at the mercy of an irrational unfeeling universe. It is only when we can finally accept this and our imminent death that we can truly be free. Free that is to live to the utmost in the years up to our death, because our reason tells us there is nothing else. Meursault becomes an absurd hero, because he no longer fears death and can get on with the rest of his life, however long or short that might be. An understanding of Camus thoughts on an absurd sensitivity adds much to an understanding of L'etranger. Albert Camus has written a beautiful thought provoking book which has layers of meaning, but on whatever level you come to it I don't think you can fail to be moved by the fate of Meursault. I was when I first read it and again for different reason on my recent re-read. I say beautiful because of the powerful descriptive writing that makes us see the town in Algeria where this takes place. We feel the malevolent and benevolent power of the sun; another key theme in the novel as it seems to cajole and then goad Meursault into action and non action. The opening chapter describing his mother's funeral is a masterful piece of writing. At the end of the novel Meursault has come along way from the man who near the start of the novel confessed that he "didn't like Sundays" I read the penguin modern classics edition, which has a translation by Stuart Gilbert dating from 1961. I cannot recommend this as I feel that Gilbert takes too many liberties with the text, for example his translation of the title of the book is The Outsider rather than The Stranger. I read it alongside the original French text and thought that Camus's words speak for themselves and so a more modern translation like that of Mathew Ward may be better. A 20th century classic and a must read 5 stars.

I read this in transla...

I read this in translation, and certainly need to read it again. It is a deceptively simple book, but dense with things to think about. I work with kids with autism, so the way I read the book may not be the way many people read it. To me, something was off with Meursault. Not quite autism, but his brain doesn't function the way most people's do. He lives in the moment with very little value judgement. He doesn't dwell on what is past and can't be changed. He doesn't predict much of what will happen in his future. He follows the path of least resistance, agree when he doesn't care, eat when other's offer food, lie when it seems to be no good reason not to. The way he interprets the world is in stark contrast to those who are judging him. I know this book is one of the pillars of existentialism, and Meursault's personality is quintessential existential, but on some level he read as disabled to me. I kept seeing an alien mind being judged by those who were not his peers. It of course raises the question of justice for those who aren't neurotypically normal. Of course, it also brings up wonderful issues of the way we interpret and experience our world, especially if the personal end is near. I enjoyed this book immensely and hope to go back to it because I'm sure it will reveal more of itself to me in the future.

Have you ever dreamed ...

Have you ever dreamed that you committed murder only to awake in a panic about the consequences? The Stranger is a short, simple, and strangely disturbing philosophical novel of casual murder and its consequences. I mentioned dreaming because as you read the work, you almost get the impression that the main character is dreaming his way through his life and crime. It feels too casual to be real. This novel gripped me in a couple different ways: 1. The apathy and lack of engagement in life on the part of the protagonist echoes the way we live life on the surface today. Camus nailed that attitude over 60 years ago. 2. The protagonist's atheism, especially as it clashed with the prison chaplain's worldview, forces the reader to contemplate death and the afterlife. I found it profound that a clash with religion (even to reject it) was the major cathartic moment in the killer's life. This novel deserves its fame. If you want to reflect on life as you live it, The Stranger will get the gears spinning.

The Stranger is about...

The Stranger is about Meursault, an unemotional, rational man who shoots and Arab on the beach. After the shooting, he stands trial and is sentenced to be executed by the guillotine. He spends the latter part of the novel dealing with his impending death, which is the heart of the novel. How do we deal with death, and how do we become free from our fear of death and living? I loved The Stranger, but I shouldn't have loved the stranger. As a Christian, I should have been appalled at Camus's insistence, through the story of the condemned criminal Meursault, that life is meaningless and the world is absurd. Yet, I did love it. Regardless of religious beliefs, it is impossible to escape and fail to appreciate the rationality of Camus's point. Regardless of when we die, we are all going to die eventually, and the world will go on without us. Our existence has no great purpose, and there is nothing to fear in death. Freedom comes from accepting these premises. While I may not agree with the underlying warrants in this viewpoint, it is difficult to disagree with these conclusions if you accept these warrants. For this reason, I loved the novel. Camus's entire philosophy of the absurd was portrayed beautifully in an engaging story that was difficult to refute if one first accepts Camus's underlying beliefs.

Spoiler alert! Not tha...

Spoiler alert! Not that it matters anyway, but don't read this review if you don't already know how it all ends. The Stranger is a perfect book, with a flawed philosophy. Camus is a liar. If he really believed in the absurdness of the universe, then why bother to create this book, and the others? I chose to read this, not because of the philosophy, but to learn a trick or two from a great writer. I write metaphysical science fiction, and one of my favorite authors is Philip K. Dick. I was not disappointed in Camus' art. The story is balanced upon the violent act of murder, unpremeditated, and absurd. By then, I had lost all sympathy for a very unsympathetic character, and I began to realize the theme that nothing the character did made any difference to him or to the reader. Thou shalt not kill, God commands. Camus uses the breaking of that commandment to attack religious beliefs, although I did not see that until Mersault was throttling the priest in his prison cell. That resolution comes in the last hours of the antihero's life, in the final pages of the story. Once it is over, you realize how it balances the scene around Mersault's mother's coffin in the quiet room at the Home at the start of the book. I am still studying how all the pieces of the plot fit together in such a very complicated pattern for such a simple story. But it was the poetic and striking descriptions of the reality through which Mersault wanders, that I liked the best. The cat crossing the deserted city street, the struggle between the old man and his dog, the long lines of cypresses beside the road to the graveyard, taking the streetcar to the harbor for a swim, all of these images stay with me. Even though Camus says, "never in my life had I seen anyone so clearly as I saw these people ... and yet I couldn't hear them, and it was hard to believe they really existed", his sparingly described supporting characters, Marie, Raymond, Salamano, Mother, and the Arabs, are more believable than Mersault himself. I should read another of Camus' books, but I am afraid that it could not possibly be as good as this one!

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Electrode, Comp-805471378, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-17, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-48b97a6d-42f-16e78c73b0543a, Generated: Sun, 17 Nov 2019 09:52:33 GMT