Forty years ago I read S. Gilbert’s translation. Overtime, the story faded. Listening to M. Ward’s translation revived the story but has made it clear why the story was lost in memory. I am pleased to be of such simple dust so that I may find little merit in why so much of the reading population has found this story of interest. If I were to explain myself it would be the story is not really a very compelling expression of existentialism as it is of the cultic psychology engaged in by all those psychology majors over the last fifty years. As with the first reading, if I were not a disciplined reader I would have closed the book after the first chapter. The old copy on my book shelf is now in the trash. Sometimes it is pleasant to be dumber than all the intellectuals.
I tried several times to read this book but it never held my attention. The audio quality and the tone and inflection of the reader was excellent so that the story became quite interesting and made for easy listening.
JD, yes. Camus--you'd have to convince me.
With five star recommendation and at a VERY cheap price.
I would've quit if he hadn't been reading it to me....
It's just not relevant anymore--though audible tried to sell it as relevant (as a response to the mid-term election?). Too dated. I couldn't get past the racism and sexism--the fact that he thought he'd "get off" because he'd "only" killed an Arab and because he wasn't feeling well and the guy deserved it because he'd intimidated a friend. I'd already consistently made allowances for women and animal abuse as a product of the times... After listening, all I can think is that Camus is the French Hemingway. Finally got to the "philosophy" part only because of the narrator. And there IS something there to ponder at the end. Just not enough to justify wasting the three hours that take you there. By the time I got there, I couldn't focus on the philosophical issues raised because I was too distracted by accounting for what was acceptable at the time.
I worship Dostoevsky, Kafka, Kipling, Conrad, Melville, and now Camus.
I simply could not get as much out of this book without its narrator, for I have not his ability to read. I worry that it influences me too much. At the same time he demonstrates there is no right way to read this book. One of course credits the author for this, and I think the narrator does so with his quiet, intense performance. Hope he's the guy that narrates The Plague.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Not the least odd thing about this book is that it came out in 1942 when you would have thought intellectual daydreams would have been put aside in the interests of surviving WWII. I'm not sure this should be classified as literature or a novel. Properly speaking, it's more of a thought experiment with the interpretation left entirely to the reader. I suppose fleshing out characters and providing background information would detract from the universality or genericness Camus was trying to create. As it is, it's up to the reader to fill in details that either make the actions of the book justifiable or not. Probably it helps to be steeped in the philosophical debates of the mid-20th century, but people keep reading and discussing this book regardless of their familiarity with that era. It would be easy enough to dismiss the protagonist as just another dissociated sociopath. That people continue to read this and think about it implies that it's more complex than that. That I'm even bothering to write this much implies that I must think there's more to it than that, but I can't say what.
Understanding his descriptions and way of thinking, his nihilist way of thinking, made me realize how different we are most of the times and how similar we have been in certain moments of my life, I am guessing this could apply to anyone who has read or heard this book. Absolutely happy I heard it and read it too. Awesome book, Awesome writer.
There are tons of glowing reviews for this book. "A classic," "well written," "thought provoking," blah blah blah. I thought it was "uninteresting," "stilted prose," "couldn't even finish it." When I can't finish a 3 hour book, that's pretty bad. I put it down after 2 hours and don't miss it a bit.
Well ... I'm just not sure how to take this book. I realize it is a staple of 20th Century Literature because it is on every "must read" list I ever read, but it is not compelling to me. I guess I can sum it up by saying it is an expose of sorts on existentialism. There is no one in the book that I can really love, or even like for that matter. The characters that come closest are Marie, the girl friend, and the dog. Outside of that, I just couldn't get involved in it. I really think that Camus was not trying to get anyone to love or get involved with these characters, but rather, like a modern artist paints for the sake of the paint on the canvas, or a modern composer writes for the sake of the sounds you will hear without regard to whether or not you like the work, Camus seemed to have written this story in the same way. It is what it is. It took me nearly to the end of the book to figure out who the stranger is. But now I'm wondering if the stranger isn't really Camus himself.
Gist of the story. A guy's mother dies, and he finds that he can't really grieve for her because he can't see that it makes a difference whether she lives or dies, or whether he loved her or didn't, or whether he is sad or not. Then he has a girlfriend, and he can't see that it makes a difference if he loves her or not, or if they get married or not. He is willing to marry her because she wants him to marry her--although I cannot for the life of me imagine why she would want to marry him. So one night he shoots and kills a guy for no really good reason and is condemned to death by guillotine. He comes to grips with his own death because, as you might guess, he can't see that it matters if he lives or dies. As I said, it is what it is. I guess I felt a little sorry for him in the end, just because he seemed to have missed the whole point of living. Read it if you want to read something really different and dark, but not very fulfilling. It is short.
54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.
Not without merit but very overrated. I wouldnt waste a credit on it but if you can pick it up in a $4.95 sale its worth it.
This is an extremely interesting piece of writting. Do not confuse the cold distant narrative of this book with hackneyed writting. Rather it is a sketch of a modern man with no real values, god, or sense of place. Even justice seems to be a ripe target for the protaganist. A great introduction to existentialism but it is rather cold (which I guess is the point).