book: The Stranger (1942; trans 1988 Matthew Ward) by Albert Camus



Albert Camus’s L’Étranger/The Stranger/The Outsider is one of the most written-about books of the 20th century, so I doubt that any jejune thoughts of my own are going to add much to the sum of human understanding. It’s a book that somehow I didn’t read during my schooldays and should certainly have read since; I’m kicking myself that I put it off until now, because I really liked the novel — which is like something that Jim Thompson or David Goodis might have written had they been raised in French Algeria in the first half of the last century: the book was created within a much different culture to theirs, but it has the same underlying nihilism and, I think, despair over human behavior. (Translator Matthew Ward, in his introductory Note to this edition, suggests this was not just a matter of happenstance, that Camus was…

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