2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
the best existential novel of them all,
This review is from: The Plague (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
As a proper young existentialist, I read this in high school and loved it as a statement on the meaninglessness of life. But when I returned to it nearly 30 years later, this time in the original language, I felt a far deeper sense of awe at the characters and their interactions, all of which lead to their growth, even if in sorrow. WHile their dilemma is something I will probably never experience, I identified strongly with the characters and their philosophical dilemmas, this time as a middle-aged man whose life course is set and who has his own family and love. The French is spare, but utterly clear, giving the book a mournful texture in its North African context.
The book is so rich that I do not believe one can pin down or define the principal themes: we all interpret it from the perspective of ourselves and where we stand at the time that we read it and they are ever changing. I believe that that is what defines a true classic: it is universal yet endlessly reflects back to the reader's subjectivity.