In his critical comment on Robert Zaretsky's new book on Camus, A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Search for Meaning, Mr Greenebaum is evidently gripping his reviewer's telescope firmly with both hands, but he seems to be holding it at the wrong end. He accuses Zaretsky of "badly and strangely misstat[ing] facts and ideas," a grotesque calumny offered without any supporting evidence (the fact that the Etienne in Camus' childhood home was identified as a granduncle and not an uncle to Camus may be freighted with especial significance for Mr Greenebaum, but this cannot justify such a review).
Were he to trouble to examine the book again, with a critical but unjaundiced eye, he would notice how Zaretsky's book highlights, in particular, the central importance of human suffering to Camus' work, and, in this light, he would probably be surprised to discover the striking symbolic importance of Prometheus, an importance I believe Zaretsky is among the first to explore in any detail. He would surely be impressed, too, by the many complex thematic connections Zaretsky finds between Camus and Thucydides, Camus and Aeschylus, Camus and Montaigne, Camus and Stendhal, Camus and Orwell, even Camus and Martha Nussbaum and Elaine Scarry. The touch may sometimes be a little light - inevitable in a relatively short book, designed to appeal to a wide audience of intelligent readers - but it is always assured.
A Life Worth Living eloquently recalls us to the many pleasures Camus' works offers the thoughtful reader, the kind of reader I expect Mr Greenebaum may well be, given his evident appreciation of Camus, although his review of Zaretsky's book betrays no sign of it.