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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A false prophet in the desert
Jean-Baptiste Clamence, his name a wordplay on "John the Baptist crying in the wilderness" buttonholes strangers in a seedy Amsterdam bar to tell them of his fall from grace as a successful Parisian lawyer to a man obsessed with his two-faced duplicity and his moral guilt worse in some ways than that of a common criminal. His psychological crisis has been triggered by...
Published 11 months ago by Antenna

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars La chute
It was beautifully wraped and bookclub responded well to my request for a prompt delivery . It is very philosophical and a very difficult read not a story ,just a statement of his state of mind.
Published 10 months ago by Norma Gordon Farleigh


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A false prophet in the desert, 12 Jan 2014
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Jean-Baptiste Clamence, his name a wordplay on "John the Baptist crying in the wilderness" buttonholes strangers in a seedy Amsterdam bar to tell them of his fall from grace as a successful Parisian lawyer to a man obsessed with his two-faced duplicity and his moral guilt worse in some ways than that of a common criminal. His psychological crisis has been triggered by another fall, that of a young woman into the Seine, whom he did nothing to save when he heard her cries. The question is, would he do any better if this incident were to be repeated?

The tale is full of digressions and twisted logic, witty, at times contradictory quotations. It is not surprising that there are differing, often opposed or confusing, interpretations of this philosophical fable, based on the ideas of absurdism, defined as the conflict between the human desire to find value and meaning in life and the inability to find it. A fascinating issue raised by Camus is how to lead a moral life if one is unable to believe in a god, but all attempts to make rules about right and wrong are arbitrary.

Having read some passages two or three times, I am still working to understand this book. For me it is a satire in which Clamence goes off the rails at the end as a kind of crazy, manic devil in a magnificently written final section. My take is that Clamence is on the wrong track with his desire to judge and control. The ability to accept one's own inevitable shortcomings is clearly key, but what if one is given to the level of excess of the highly self-indulgent and unlikeable Clamence?

One's understanding of this book is clearly increased by some knowledge of Christianity and the alternatives of communism, humanism and existentialism all of which Camus seems to lambast at some point, along with bourgeois complacency. This begs the question as to how much a truly great book should have some self-evident meaning without the aid of this knowledge. It seems to me that Camus was still working ideas out for himself in this book, and that at the end some were still incomplete.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a lifelong lesson for me, 21 Jun 2014
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I bought this very short novel by Camus as a gift for a French-speaking friend, having read it myself a thousand years ago as a college student. I give it a 5-star rating because of its importance to me throughout the years since -- it answers the question as to why people are not truthful with themselves and why they cannot admit when they have been wrong about something or have made a mistake. I would give it a much lower rating for being entertaining.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The suffering on the outskirts of life, 11 Dec 2001
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A man face to face with his life, afraid of the fall. An introspection rather than a confession which lead the reader to his own reflection, guided by the underlying philosophy of Camus' "The myth of Sisyphus".
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars La chute, 3 Feb 2014
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It was beautifully wraped and bookclub responded well to my request for a prompt delivery . It is very philosophical and a very difficult read not a story ,just a statement of his state of mind.
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La Chute (Folio) (French Edition)
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