I honestly have no words. This book was an odd but beautiful experience.
The Stranger – description
The Stranger is a novella written by Albert Camus in 1942.
It deals with existentialism, nihilism and the absurdity of the world.
From the iconic opening:
“Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the old people’s home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Sincerely yours’. That doesn’t mean anything. It could have been yesterday.”
It really depends on how you form your opinion on the character because this is how you are going to see him throughout the whole book. Whether you see him as a sociopath who doesn’t care that his mother died or as a person who has been numbed by his mother dying, and he is not able to comprehend anymore. Either way, you are right.
Camus’ message in this novella is that life is absurd. And for the main character, Meursault, morals have no meaning and absolutely nothing matters. To be happy or to be sad is the same thing.
Because Camus was a philosopher, every sentence and every word has a deeper meaning. That is why I read this slowly, so I can understand everything. And I highly recommend you do the same. Yes, it is a light read, with only 160 pages, and I bet you want to read this quickly, but I advise you not to. Digest every paragraph and be patient.
This book is not full of adventures and it is certainly not exciting, but that’s the catch. It makes you question things and keeps you awake at night. That’s the beauty of it.
Here are some quotes that I love:
“Another thing I did to deflect the course of my thoughts was to listen to my heart. I couldn’t imagine that this faint throbbing which had been with me for so long would ever cease.”
“Mother used to say that however miserable one is, there’s always something to be thankful for.”
Even though I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads (don’t ask me why; sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing), I highly recommend reading The Stranger if you want to be mind blown.