Read The Stranger by Albert Camus Online

The Stranger

ISBN 9780679720201Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in English in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward. ...

Title : The Stranger
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ISBN : 49552
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 123 pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Stranger Reviews

  • İntellecta

    The novel begins with the words:

    "Mother died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know."

    The laconic style sets an invariable counterpoint to the poetic, occasionally ornamented artistic language.

    Albert Camus gilded as one of the most important literary and philosophical thinkers of the post-war period. The Nobel Prize laureate of 1957, which also focused on political questions before. The novel is an absurd work, up to the last sentence. He is also in the position in which the death-journey of a

  • s.penkevich

    It was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness.

    Even if we exist in a world devoid of meaning, why is it that our actions still bear so much weight? The crime and punishment of Nobel Prize winning author Albert Camus’ academically canonized The Stranger depicts the ironies of enforcing meaning in a void and the absurdities that surround us as humans walking towards the same cold, lifeless fate. ‘Since we're all going to die,’ writes narrator Meursault, ‘it's obvious that when

    It occurred to me anyway that one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed.
    Following the funeral The Stranger chronicles Meursault’s relations with the living and the natural world, most critically concerning his courtship of Marie. Marie, it would seem, figures as an Oedipal substitute for his Maman². Whereas the relationship with Maman is cold and detached, the two of them separating much out of boredom with one another, his relationship with Marie is full of excitement and hot-blooded sexual flair, yet the text is full of imagery nudging towards Oedipal impulses. There is a fixation with her breasts, which are frequently mentioned and sought after by the motherless Meursault, or the tender moment when he seeks out Marie’s scent on the pillow and falls asleep in the warm embrace of bed and scent, a fairly childlike and soul-bearing act.

    Meursault’s relationships lead him down a path that ends with senseless murder (as senseless as everything else may be a question worth considering), and while we put a moral weight on the difference between intentionally pulling the trigger or the trigger going off from being overcome by the sun and heat, is there truly any difference at all since both lead to a body bleeding out on the beach? This murder, and the absolutely brilliant final line of ‘knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness’—one of my favorites in all of literature—propels the reader into Part Two. Here we have find Meursault denied the sunsoaked scenes of nature and friendship of the outside world, and the sexuality so rampant in part one as he finds himself now beset by the cold indifferent stone walls of prison. The world of part one only whispers through the bars. There is still the overwhelming warmth, but this is more akin to hellfire in a judgement scene where mortal flesh takes on the role of an Almighty judge in an investigation of Meursault’s character. Meursault describes the utter absurdity of being the true focus of the trial, but being forced to sit silent as others do all the deciding and discussing as if he didn’t matter one bit. It also seems strange that the murder is not the primary discussion, but the actions of relations leading up to it. Did Meursault love his mother, was he in the circle of criminals, and other moral characteristics of the man seem to be the deciding factor of his fate, a trial that reads like a Holy decision into either Heaven or Hell while actually being a decision that would remove him from this worldly courtroom to the immortal courtroom, if that is to be believed (certainly by the lawyers but denied by Meursault).
    I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored.
    Being left with only having your past life, full of its joys and transgressions, to either comfort or haunt you for what feels like eternity reads much like an expression of an afterlife. If there is one, then life has meaning, but what if there isn’t one and we don’t have to atone for our actions?

    It is better to burn than to disappear.

    The Stranger is a probing look into the folds of existence, and one that forces you to consider your own life and it’s place under all those indifferent stars. The writing is crisp and immediate, and the effect is nearly overwhelming and all-encompassing in its beauty and insight. I read this in high school and have now re-read it in preparation for The Meursault Investigation. I found it to be much more meaningful to me as an adult as I found it then, though I enjoyed it equally both times. When a reader is young, the ideas seem engaging and attractive, but more like a hat one can put on and remove when they are done and move on. As an adult, having been through much more and having experienced bleak moments and bottom-of-the-well nights where life truly felt absurd and devoid of meaning or warmth, Meursault didn’t seem so distant or theoretical but like a life we’ve all lived and tried to forget. The Stranger has earned it’s place in the literary canon as well as deep within my heart.


    I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.

    ¹ There is a fascinating article from the New Yorker discussing the various translations of the opening line. I tend to prefer their own version, which has never been put into the novel that it should read ‘Today, Maman died’ as Meursault exists in the here and now, and that the death of his mother is an interruption of his ‘today’, which should be first and foremost as in the original French ‘Aujourd’hui, maman est morte’, especially since placing Maman first assumes a closeness to her that doesn’t present itself through the rest of the novel. Note as well the quote above where Sunday passing is placed before mention of burying his mother.

    ² Is it possible, too, that the absence of Maman reflects the absence of God?

    How could I neglect to mention the song Killing an Arab by the Cure, inspired by this novel. ...more

  • Mutasim Billah

    “Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure.”

    The Stranger is a 1942 novel by Albert Camus, often cited as a prime example of Camus' philosophy of the absurd and existentialism. The story's protagonist Meursault is an indifferent French Algerian, who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture. Meursault's initial musings at the very beginning of the story are the groundwork of the plot, as his indifference at his mother's funeral baffles everyone present there.

    As a m ...more

  • Barry Pierce

    y'know it's quite impressive that Camus managed to write a whole novel from the perspective of that guy who you always avoid at house parties.

  • Jim Fonseca

    A short review because there are so many other good reviews of this classic. When I first read this eons ago, I assumed “the stranger” was the Arab man that the main character kills on the beach. (It’s set in Algeria.) Not so.

    Meursault, the main character, is a man without feelings and one incapable of feeling remorse. Those deficiencies show at his mother’s death when he does not cry and does not even seem terribly upset. They show again when he agrees to write a letter for a friend so that th

  • Carmen

  • Luca Ambrosino

    English (The Stranger) / Italiano

    "The Stranger" was suggested to me by the protagonist of another book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Actually, many books are cited in "The Perks of being a Wallflower", but "The Stranger" is the book that intrigued more the protagonist and me.

    Meursault is a modest employee of French extraction who lives in Algiers. He lives his daily routine with indifference, unable to openly manifest even the simplest emotions. And it is with apathy that


  • Chris

    If every few words of praise I’ve seen for “The Stranger” over my lifetime materialized into small chunks of rock in space, there’d be enough sh!t to conjure up the Oort Cloud. Much like this distant collection of debris bordering the outer solar system, I can’t really comprehend the acclaim heaped on this story, but luckily, like the Cloud, it’s usually out of sight, out of mind, and has absolutely no discernable current influence on my life. And just like the Oort can occasionally spit a chunk ...more