When a young Algerian named Meursault kills a man, his subsequent imprisonment and trial are puzzling and absurd. The apparently amoral Meursault, who puts little stock in ideas like love and God, seems to be on trial less for his murderous actions, and more for what the authorities believe is his deficient character.
This remarkable translation by Matthew Ward has been considered the definitive English version since its original publication. It unlocks the prose as no other English version has, allowing the listener to soak up the richness of Camus' ideas.
©1988 Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
Existentialism: each individual is solely responsible for giving meaning to life. The accepted cultural morality is absurd and unacceptable. Camus created the character Mersault as the perfect example. He did it so well that I was struck by the amoral, not immoral, life experience of Meursault. He never lied, never considered yesterday and did not worry much about tomorrow. His life was lived now. Even the murder he commits is not enough to get him to feel remorse. In the final confrontation with the priest he verbalizes his "philosophy of life", every life is worth the same and there is no grand meaning to life and whether one lives or dies will not affect the rest of the world as everyone will go on living. Mersault demonstrated this after the death of his mother and as much as he preferred not to die, he knew that if it was today or twenty years from now, it would be the same. He would die and the universe would go on. Thought provoking, I enjoyed it.
This was an excellent translation. (I had previously read the book in the original French.) The translator's notes at the end were very interesting. The narrator sounded exactly like I would imagine Meursault would have sounded if the book had originally been written in English.
The Ward translation of "The Stranger," while not universally loved (many prefer the Gilbert translation which I have not read), works well for this audiobook. The reading is well done and recorded properly. It is, pretty much, a perfect audiobook.
A narrator is so important that he or she can make a bad book or break a good book.
In this case, a great book is done even more justice by the narration. Highly recommended.
This book is one of those vaunted works of literature that seem to be intended for high-thinking students of literature rather than an ordinary reader like myself.
In my humble opinion, it did not succeed as a worthwhile or interesting story. The narration was fine, though.
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.
Scientist, artisan, anachronism
From the cure’s first album came a song inspired by this book. the song is called killing an Arab. I remember the controversy t created in the Arab community and parts of the world. The albums soon required a sticker on the front that gave a brief explanation. It was something to the effect of: this song is not about hatred of Arabs. It is based on the character in the novel the stranger. I had never read this book but when I joined audible it popped in my mind and I got it.
Well thank god for Robert smith (the cure’s singer/songwriter) cuz I love this book. I listen to it over and over. I really identify with the main character. And seeing myself in him helped me too understand some of my natures and come to peace with them. Ahh it is a wonderful book. besides it’s philosophical character it is a great story. This is one of my favorite books.
I sat and listened almost non-stop to this excellent reading of The Sranger. Davis is obviously very familiar with the work and his rendition improved my understanding.
It seems a lifetime ago that I first encountered Camus in philosophy classes. I was haunted by him then and the effects have remained with me all these years so I was delighted to have an opportunity to go back to "The Stranger" and read/hear it again. It is fiction but as Camus said (loosely), the novel is just philosophy expressed graphically. It was written in the 1940s when the European world was embroiled in terrible conflicts that called into question all previous beliefs. The Existentialists like Sartre and Camus asked tough questions and this novel expresses those questions in the life of one ordinary man whose life has lost meaning. It is beautifully read and will haunt you.
Another classic makes its way to audio in fine form. If you haven't read The Stranger since high school, you may be surprised by which details you remembered and which you forgot (something of a Rorschach in that respect). Regardless of recall, however, you are apt to get more out of this book the second time around, especially because of the version used and the narrator who gives the work a proper and penetrating rhythm that can be missed by the hurried eyes of a reader working the page.
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