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Albert Camus: A Life Paperback – 12 Nov 1998
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Olivier Todd's biography of Albert Camus matches its subject's depth by portraying the man as well as the moralist. Born in Algeria and raised in poverty by an illiterate mother, Camus never forgot where he came from. He made his name in Nazi- occupied Paris--publicly as the author of The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus, covertly as a member of the Resistance and editor of its newspaper, Combat--but he longed for the North African sun of his youth. During the years of crisis when Algeria struggled to break free from France, Camus alienated both colonialists and revolutionaries by supporting full equality for Arabs but denouncing terrorism. "I believe in justice," he told an Algerian heckler at a 1957 meeting he addressed in Stockholm after winning the Nobel Prize. "But I will defend my mother before justice." It is this preference for the concrete over the abstract that makes Camus such an appealing thinker. Todd's biography, which offers the most fully human depiction yet, is equally engaging.
"Clear eyed, compendious, with full access to the Camus archive, [Albert Camus] fulfilled every expectation... Todd's biography is both remarkably thorough and candid, and will prove indispensable to all those interested in Camus' life... completely fascinating" (William Boyd Daily Telegraph)
"The biography of the season... Mesmerising" (Observer)
"Todd, in this first authorised, definitive life - and one which is unlikely to be surpassed - reveals Camus to be far more fun that one would expect the author of L'Etranger to be" (Time Out)
"Todd has spared no pains in his search for significant details... it is difficult to imagine that there can ever be a more exhaustive study of Camus' personality and of the relationship between his work and his life" (New York Review of Books)
"With admirable detachment, Olivier Todd has told us how and why Camus wrote and lived so magnificently" (Tom Rosenthal Daily Mail)
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