- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Re-issue edition (6 July 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141187948
- ISBN-13: 978-0141187945
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 0.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Fall (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 6 Jul 2006
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About the Author
French novelist, essayist, and playwright. Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Among his works, The Plague (1947), The Just (1949) The Fall (1956). He was killed in a road accident in 1960. His last novel, The First Man, unfinished at the time of his death, appeared for the first time in 1994.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Fall is outstanding. It was Camus's final work and his crowning achievement. Like Thomas Mann's brilliant Death in Venice, The Fall is short novella and not a word is wasted. In fact I would suggest that no novel need exceed 100 pages. I read the entire book in a day and it was wonderful. I intend reading it many times because it is truly multi-layered and the work of a brilliant mind. On two occasions I found myself laughing out loud at Camus's observations on life's absurdity.
I am unsure if The Fall was written as a play, but it is ideal for the stage because the entire narrative is delivered by its single character, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, who describes himself as a 'Judge-pentitent'. You might notice that Jean-Baptiste is a thinly disguised nom de guerre for John the Baptist. Camus has of course chosen this name for good reason as you will discover. Indeed everything in The Fall has deep and insightful meaning - including the name of the novel.
Clamence is a post-Lapsian (or is it Lapsarian) Parisian lawyer (a fallen angel) living out his days in Amsterdam where he defends criminals in order to sustain his love of gin at his favourite watering hole, a seedy bar called Mexico City. There he meets a visitor to whom he tells his story. And what a story it is!
A central theme of The Fall is Judgement and how quick we are all to judge others, but how we hate to be judged. Camus asks who has the right to judge anyone: inside and outside the law.Read more ›
first person narrative of a barrister, a fellow
with an exceedingly high self-opinion. Through his actions and
thoughts, we soon discover he is flawed, and by the end of the book wonder whether he is not indeed entirely dissolute.
It is short pithy book written in beautiful, simple text, but with much food for thought.
The philosophical debate that this book
engenders relates to a famous painting from whence
the title of the novel is derived, which has
caused endless speculation about Camus' interpretation of the nature of 'integrity' and its corollary, 'corruption'
(the first person narrative is a barrister, after all).
As a highly stylised comment on hypocrisy and self-worth,
it is pure brilliance.
The Fall recounts the story of a barrister who gains a reputation as a virtuous and noble man who is always on the side of the underdog. He is feted by his peers and well known among the public at large but just at the peak of his career when he feels a sense of accomplishment with his achievements he has a sudden and shocking spiritual awakening through which he realizes that he is, in fact, an actor, a charlatan and, as he describes himself, a Pharisee. Thus by his own self-judgement he begins to fall from his position of social status because he is no longer able to believe in his formerly self-professed integrity. He has come to live in Amsterdam and is realizing his own salvation by confessing his tale to those who will listen.
This is a genuinely moving book whose motive is to explore what it means to be an authentically virtuous person. In doing so the author makes that quintessentially Christian observation that there is a wide gulf between taking care to create the impression that one is a good person and actually being a good person which takes humility and considerable effort to overcome a tendency towards egoistic self-aggrandizement. This book above all shows the deeply humane values at the heart of Camus' literary enterprise.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Haunting monologue that will prompt self-reflection. Brief but cleverly crafted. If you enjoyed L'etranger, this is another must read from Camus.Published 4 months ago by Donald M Milliken
The fall is almost certainly the best existentialist novel aside from Sartres Nausea. The story conveys the complete absurdity to existence with the main character a latter day... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bondy
This is Camus at his best - is the judge-penitent a case of omnipotence in thought or does the judge pose real question other than his own psychopathology . Read morePublished 13 months ago by W J Smith-Bowers
Camus uses self-pity to try to expunge his devils, his past, his self-pity, by finding a vehicle in Clemence to allow him the space, to disperse them, and a location in Amsterdam. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Rick Mackey
The best thing about this book is the narrative style, ie the monologue 'confession' to the chance acquaintance. Read morePublished 23 months ago by S. FREEMAN
Jean-Baptiste Clamence is the never-ending narrator of Albert Camus's novella The Fall (1956). It displays all the classic traits of a novella: spanning one night between two... Read morePublished on 20 May 2015 by Garry Pope