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).
Yes. It's a classic book, and Jonathan Davis' narration puts you right into the feeling of the time and place and Meursault's state of mind.
Meursault. I felt deep compassion for him.
No. But, I will be looking for him. His voice for this story and character was the perfect tone.
No. I''m just not sure any of my friends would enjoy it.
I know it is a specific style, but it just didn't work for me.
Can't say there was a favorite character.
Your Brother in Christ
The Stranger is one of the most popular books of the Twentieth Century and the one largely responsible for the fame of Camus. The story is a bit addicting, and very thought provoking. Camus said he tried to write it in an American style and you can tell the influence Hemingway had on his simple understated prose. This is helped by the fitting narration of Jonathan Davis. He does a good job of fitting his narration to the story line and tone of the apathetic character. Almost a monotone, yet easy to listen to.
The story line itself is somewhat funny. The basic plot is that Meursault kills a man in the wake of the death of his mom. But he isn't tried for the murder. Instead he is tried and beheaded because he doesn't mourn properly for his mother, because he has few feelings. Ultimately, and this I think is more or less the point of Camus writing the book as an activist for Algerian natives, the French citizens of Algiers could care less about this man murdering an Arab. What they care about is the fact that the man had the audacity to start an affair right after his mom died. That he didn't seem to love his mother.
And of course, this is often what people are tried for even today. Suspects are routinely tried, especially in public opinion, not on the basis of any evidence as to what has occurred, but what the person did after a loved one is found dead, or has gone missing. And of course people do mourn in different ways. There really isn't any reason that a person wouldn't start a love affair after the death of a loved one, it is perhaps the emotional trigger that sets them off doing stuff they might not have even thought of before. Some people dance around a volcano. The character thinks he is being tried for murder and doesn't really understand why the fixation on his relationship with his mom, which he figures is no one's business. Killing an Arab becomes the excuse for the public to kill a man for not loving his mother as they see fit. In the process of the story many existential themes are explored whether or not Camus really meant for that. He did not really like the term existentialism, but the irony of history has made him the poster boy for it. Of course, any novel that has the death of one's mother, and the imminent death of the character is going to have to grapple, in one manner or another with those subjects upon which existentialism concerns itself, that being the meaning of life especially in the face of death which seems to render life itself meaningless. So perhaps Camus didn't like the term, perhaps he didn't set out to write an existentialist novel, yet when your main character is an atheist facing death, how are you going to avoid it? It is perhaps, precisely because he didn't mean for it to be an existentialist story that it became such a great one. Well, the world is absurd that way.
On the surface this book seems very simple, but on reflection there are deep questions and messages. Camus delivers, very poignantly, one perspective (or interpretation) of existentialism.
Narration: Does it get better than Jonathan Davis?
Having read and taught the novel for years, I had a very different experience when listening to it. It gave me a new appreciation for the rhythm of the narrative.
This is the novel that defines existentialism. Well read and presented here.
So, this was THE novel of mid-20th century, eh? Well... it beats me why.
Perhaps I'm insufficiently "existentialist" or perhaps I am bored by sociopaths, but this one really left me cold (get it?) The main character is perhaps one of the flattest, least appealing, least sympathetic characters I've ever encountered and that is compounded by an essentially plotless, repetitive, pointless "story" that seemed to have almost nothing of value to say... about anything.
At just over 3 and 1/2 hours, it certainly barely qualifies as a novel and, while the narrator did an OK job, I recognize that the poor sod had very little to work with!
Like Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" and that ghastly piece of drek, "Wicked", this appears to be one of those books that get rave reviews and leave me scratching my head in puzzlement.
I've read better. I wouldn't waste my time re-reading it. The authors view of existence is depressing.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
"The Stranger" evokes depression and denial from realists and optimists. Albert Camus brilliantly captures the character of a nihilist (one who believes there are no meaningful aspects of life). The narrator, Johnathan Davis, uses a monotone voice to tell Camus’s story. This may have been an artistic decision but it detracts from the impact of the book. Camus’s main character, Meursault, lives life as though living is an absurd existence, an existence that demands nothing, gives nothing, and means nothing. Meursault’s view of life is monochromatic and deserves a monotone delivery. However, people around Meursault, in Camus’s story, live life differently. The difference is missed because Davis’s monotone delivery obscures the contrast.
Events make Meursault a murderer. He does not choose to be a murderer just as he does not choose to be a friend or lover. Society chooses to make Meursault a murderer and sentences him to death. Prior to execution, a priest insists Meursault should seek forgiveness from God. Meursault believes there is no God and refuses to ask for forgiveness. Meursault is reinforcing his belief that life has no meaning. Camus tells readers/listeners life is a meaningless number of moment to moment experiences that begin at birth and end at death, signifying nothing.
Camus makes flesh the source of psychopaths, murderers, and sociopaths while suggesting justice can be as easily misguided by realists and optimists as by nihilists. There are strangers in this world. One wonders how many suffer from depression because of Camus’s view of life.
Kathy Hemet, Ca
This was an uncomfortable book, to say the least. It does put you in the mind of a self indulgent, amoral psychopath.... Hard to grasp, yet the book helps to make the reader understand how his Mersault's mind works.
That Mersault was satisfied with his life.
Fits the character.