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Exile and the Kingdom: "The Adulterous Woman"; "The Renegade"; "The Silent Men"; "The Guest"; "The Artist" (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 29 Aug 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 29 Aug 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New edition edition (29 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186566
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,506,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Thoroughly engrossing" --"The New York Times" "[These stories] invite comparison with his best work" --"The Nation" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Four of these stories are set on the shimmering desert fringes of Camus's native Algeria, and all of them first appeared in 1957, the year when he became the youngest French writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

"I would call his pessimism 'solar',if you remember how much black there is in the sun" --Jean-Paul Sartre

"In France, the three vital writers are André Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Of these, the greatest is Camus" --Arthur Koestler

"Powerful, jolting, thought-provoking parables, told skilfully and with detached passion" --Sunday Times

"These violent yet controlled stories confirm ... that Camus is no simple, superficial humanitarian. He is on the side of the angels, as he should be, but he gives the devil a very good run for his money" --Observer

For more titles in the Penguin Classics range, visit Amazon.co.uk's Penguin Classics Bookstore. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exile and Kingdom is the chrysalis out of which The Fall (his great 3rd novel) formed.The stories depict various forms of exile,isolation,alienation.Four are set in Algeria,one of which "The Guest" gets most directly to Camus's present situation and dilemma: how do you treat the Arabs if you are a French Algerian?Daru is a teacher and is asked to keep an Arab prisoner in his house,one who killed his brother,then take him to the nearest town.There is a sense of the native Arab population on the move,in revolt,ready to rise up against their colonist masters.The story is unsettling in light of Camus's treatment by fellow French intellectuals like Sartre and his position as a pied-noir in Algeria.Camus refused to take sides in the conflict.Daru like Camus is exiled by the choices he has made. Daru does not turn in the prisoner,he sets him on his way to make his own choice,freedom or imprisonment.This kindness may result in death.The village was beginning to stir.This is my favorite story.

The Adulterous Woman is disenchanted with her husband on a business trip through Algeria,she still feels attractive to other men,but the vigor has gone out of their marriage.She communes with the night stars,identifies with the nomads she can see from the fort as they aren't tied to the town.She is no longer an extension of her husband,she is freed to embrace the wider world.The native Algerians are disdained by Marcel,her husband.In The Renegade the exiled ex-priest narrator is waiting in the desert,a prisoner of a desert tribe,who have cut out his tongue,having become converted to the dionysiac religion of his masters. The narrator had been a missionary to the tribes of Taghasa,he now waits to kill the new missionary.
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A human prism is the lens that Camus offers to go through any of his stories. Talented to what I would call a sort of luminous darkness he always find those cracks on the wall in the midst of despair. The normality of the terrible functions as a kind of vindication and the uncanny offers exclusive hints to the otherwise common and unattractive. These stories celebrate humanity in the brink of abyss. They are existentialist in their own way and even abominable but still have a call to action. They give a voice to the voiceless and unveils their lack of hope. We may recognize the last register of Camus along this book the same that he harps on in the posthumous The First Man, considered a sort of biography of his own life. Enjoyable and persistent.
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Most of us only know Camus by his novels but he was also a fine journalist and writer of short stories. This collection contains the best of his shorter works. Each is unique and most are set in Camus' Algeria.

If you are unfamiliar with the novels, then this is an excellent introduction to the work of one of the greatest French stylists and a novelist of extraordinary power and perception.
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Format: Paperback
Six short stories, all full of atmosphere, though the significance of the collection’s title escapes me, as does the link other reviewers can see with Existentialism.

“The Adulterous Woman” is not actually adulterous, but, travelling in the bitterly cold Atlas mountains with her salesman husband, she is not only out of her element but becomes more acutely aware of the nature of their marriage.

The story called “The Renegade”, told breathlessly in the first person, is about a missionary who, against all advice, chose to work in a savage Fetish-worshipping community living in Taghasa, a scorching salt-mining city in Algeria. His suffering at the hands of the natives is unspeakable, and it makes him give up everything he had believed in.

“The Silent Men” are the workers in a small concern making coops. Their employer had been a good employer, but he could not afford to give them a wage rise. They had gone on strike, but returned beaten; and they refuse to speak to their employer.

“The Guest” is an Arab prisoner, accused of a murder. A gendarme had ploughed throw the snow to bring him to a lonely schoolhouse en route from the village where he was stationed to prison in the nearby town. The police are short-staffed, and the gendarme had given the French schoolmaster a pistol and had ordered him to escort the Arab to the police headquarters on the following day. The story describes the relationship between the unwilling schoolmaster and the prisoner.

“The Artist at Work”: The rise and decline of a painter in an apartment over-crowded with canvasses, his devoted wife and their three children, his admiring and later his critical friends. Eventually the lack of solitude contributes to his decline; but when at last he achieves it, it is too late.
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By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
The main characters in these very cleverly build short stories are people who are physically or mentally prisoners of their social, economic, religious or ideological conventions. Some of them dream of escaping their fate and some have the opportunity to do so. But, will they choose their (new) kingdom or will they remain in exile?

'The adulterous woman' feels trapped in existing moral conventions. Her kingdom is freedom and love. But, will she leave her husband?

'The renegade ' tells the story of a Catholic missionary who wants to convert a foreign tribe. The tribesmen try to force him by torture to adore their own god (their religious kingdom). Will he do it?

In 'The Silent Men', workers return silently to work after a failed strike. They didn’t reach their expected kingdom (salary increases). But, will they discuss again with their boss?

In 'The Guest', a teacher has to bring a blatant murderer to a prison in the city. He gives him the opportunity to escape and to go home. Will the murderer accept it?

In ‘The artist at work’ a painter puts his fate (all his works) into the hands of a middleman. Will there be solidarity (kingdom) or solitariness (exile)?

In 'The growing Stone’ a man promises to carry a huge stone in a religious procession in order to save his life. Through exhaustion he fails to reach the church (his kingdom), but his heavy task is taken over by a foreigner? Will he be saved?

Everyone should read these brilliantly written incredible stories with their most surprising ends.
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