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The Adulterous Woman (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) Paperback – 15 Feb 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (15 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141195843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141195841
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.6 x 16.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. His childhood was poor, although not unhappy. He studied philosophy at the University of Algiers, and became a journalist as well as organizing the Théâtre de l'Équipe, a young avant-garde dramatic group. After the occupation of France by the Germans in 1941, Camus became one of the intellectual leaders of the Resistance movement. After the war he devoted himself to writing and established an international reputation with such books as L'Étranger (The Outsider 1942), La Peste (The Plague 1947), Les Justes (The Just 1949) and La Chute (The Fall; 1956). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960. His last novel, Le Premier Homme (The First Man), unfinished at the time of his death, appeared for the first time in 1994. An instant bestseller, the book received widespread critical acclaim, and has been translated and published in over thirty countries.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very short volume of three stories, the first the story of the title involving an individual who is guilty of more infidelity in their imagination than in reality, or so I thought, the second, the silent men, a story about a defeated workers strike in a doomed enterprise making barrels, and finally, the guest, which I thought was the best of the three, about a remote/isolated teacher "enlisted" or "conscripted" into a police action he wants nothing to do with.

I have previously read The Rebel, which I did not like very much, and The Myth of Sisyphus, in which Camus muses about whether life is worth living and decides the only real philosophical question is that of suicide (life is either worth living or it is is not), which I liked a lot. These were examples of Camus the philosopher or social critic or non-fiction writer, I do think he was an existentialist, even if he would have rejected that label or been conflicted about it, which in turn makes me think of Orwell and his relationship towards socialism. This small volume of stories is my first acquaintance with Camus the fiction writer and it has been a positive one.

I actually think the first story, the one of the title, is not the best but this could be the disinterest I felt for the subject matter, the second was much, much more interesting, kind of like a fine study of group dynamics and male culture in a particular disappearing or disappeared context, very latin, exhibiting a certain sort of machismo or male angst when facing obsolescence which I felt was much more perennial in its content.
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This is a small book containing three of Camus' short stories. It will slip into your pocket and fill an idle minute or two when waiting for your bus or in the hairdressers.

As a brief sample of Camus' work as a short-story teller it is fine but there are more economic ways to read his wonderful short stories than starting with this Mini Modern Classic.

You could buy, instead, another collection by Penquin called 'Albert Camus: Exile and the Kingdom Stories' which has the advantage of an illuminating introduction by Carol Cosman.
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Three very different short stories from French writer Albert Camus, translated by Jusin O'Brien:

- "The Adulterous Woman" poignantly confronts existential loneliness and what we do to avoid it
- "The Silent Men," my favourite of the three stories, shows the complex interaction between the haves and the have-nots. With heart rending simplicity Camus shows how a changing society leaves everyone adrift and alone
- "The Guest" is the most depressing story as it shows how an act of good will by the teacher is misinterpreted and misunderstood with threatening consequences.

Worth the read for Camus' evoctave descriptions and cutting insight into the human condition.

On a practical note, the small size of the book was convenient to pop into my purse and read as I found a chance!
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Format: Paperback
Caught deep in the throws of the human condition, the protagonists in this collection of three short stories find themselves tussling against the stark nature of life, challenged by the complexity of human relationships and entangled in a web of conflicting motivations.

Written in keen and rich language, and paced with a slow but progressive temperament, Camus' masterful stories are a clear reminder that the price of harbouring infinite complexity in our skulls, is a haunting emptiness and eternal struggle to find purpose.
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I was trying to think of a way of writing this review without spoiling the plot of these three great short slices of Camus. Then I remembered it’s Camus and everyone will be expecting the characters in those stories to have an unhappy experience that underlines the essential futility of their existence. So it is no great spoiler to say that here we have: a woman in despair about her wish to commit adultery, who gets all the despair but without even the adultery; a failed set of strikers who actually come to feel even more sorry for their employer; and a teacher who finds that his bleak posting is about to become both fatal and bleak. A triple dose of well-crafted despair in just 80 pages.
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Excellent product
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