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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

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on 3 April 2000
A masterful little monologue that will convince anyone of the genius of Camus. We spend all our lives building our perceptions of ourselves and those around us only to realise that these collective impressions are but a work of fiction that serves no other purpose than to make life a little more bearable. This tiny book has more to say about life than I thought was possible in so few words, it speaks of the fall from grace that occurs when one examines one's own life outside of the "safe" context that is provided by society and day to day life. This is among my favourite titles and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever felt like an objective observer of the mechanisms of social order.
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on 24 August 2012
The end of this triumphant little book (though it is far 'bigger' than a lot of over-egged tomes claiming mightily serious things for themselves) convinces me that the unidentified listener to whom Clamance addressess his confession is none other than the judge-penitent, Clamance himself, though this is left unstated. If you enjoy a ripping yarn then this probably isn't for you but as a philosophical whodunnit (I did!) it is peerless. It also contains writing like this: "Wealth, my dear friend, is not actually acquittal, but a reprieve - always worth having." Stunning - and this edition comes with a lucid introduction by Robin Buss, who deserves praise for rendering this marvellous prose-poem into superb English. Too much praise - Jean-Baptiste would be horrified.
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on 11 April 2004
The Fall is - as far as I can see - the moment of perfection for Camus. I have studied philosophy and English literature but this book was hardly ever mentioned. For some reason most people (probably following the example set by the emperor's new clothes) chose to say that "The Outsider" or "The Plague" are superior to this. on the contrary, this is Camus' smartest funniest most vicious and, simultaneously, his most human novel - one that anticipates the most "controversial" writers of today.
if you dare to look at yourself in the mirror then look at this too. the reward is the truth, whatever that might be for you.
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on 4 January 2005
I first read this novel when I was twenty, on the recommendation of a friend and I have been eternally grateful ever since. Since then not a year has gone by (and i'm now nearly 40) when I have not revisited it. The way it is written and it's short length mean that it has a certain individual power that I have rarely found elsewhere. To the point where each time I re-read it, it has a different impact on me. It is a book to keep on the bookshelf and re-visit again and again. The underlying concepts, like any great novel seem as applicable for any time.
I would recommend this novel to anyone, read it, keep it, re-read and lend it to friends. What is it about ? It is about you, and that is what makes it great.
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on 15 July 2000
One of the few books that one reads that genuinely excites the mind. Though very short, each page provokes deep thought and self-questioning, which apparently was Camus' intention. "The Fall" holds something for those who want a heavy, worthy book without the pain of turgid style and prose. Nor is it too pretentious or preachy. Everyone I know who has read it has found "The Fall" hard to put down. A gem, even if the moral tale is ultimately perhaps enigmatic....
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on 18 January 2001
The Fall is brilliant. It's about your life. When was the last time you read a book that asked real questions? When was the last time you tried to answer them? Camus (in the form of Clamence) is a fine orator, a fascinating character, a scintillating philisopher, a self-opinionated psychologist. I could listen to him all night long (and did). Don't read this until you're ready to have your mind changed. If you read it and your mind remains the same, read it again - you missed it. What modern literature lacks, Camus owned. If only he'd written more. Albert, we miss you.
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on 30 November 2002
In terms of Camus' entire output, The Fall probably ranks somewhere in the middle as far as quality is concerned, and of course, such categorization is subjective. Still, the middle point of Camus' ouvre is still top-caliber comparatively speaking. Clearly Camus was grappling, digging and searching for answers during this period, which was nothing new for him. He had broken off with Sartre and with the existentialist "school" that was focused on remedying social injustice. Camus had been a member of the French Communist party briefly in the 30's and Sartre wanted to take him back into the fold, but Camus rejected him (of course it's more complicated than that). However, if you're looking for a serious discussion of his soul-searching, you'd be better advised to turn to his essays of the period, rather than to this work, for The Fall represents Camus at play, having a bit of fun with his over-serious readership and with a movement (Existentialism) he felt had become over inflated. What he's doing here is basically taking his pants down and mooning the whole moody, intellectual crowd.
The Fall is a monologue (not a dialogue, as mentioned elsewhere), written in first person (not second, as, again, is enumerated several times in the course of reviews here). There is one character in the novel. He is a highly unreliable narrator, a point that is passed over in all the Amazon reviews. He is ostensibly a lawyer, yet his calling card says that he is an actor. Camus is practically yelling at the reader, telling him not to take anything the narrator says at face value: "You, for instance, <mon cher compatriote>, stop and think what your sign would be. You are silent? Well, you'll tell me later on. I know mine in any case: a double face, a charming Janus, and above it the motto of the house: 'Don't rely on it.' On my cards: 'Jean-Baptiste Clamence, play actor.'" The "Jean-Baptiste" is another clue, for if you are familiar with French literature it should ring a bell that Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was the famous playwright Moliere's given name. Not that Jean-Baptiste is that uncommon a name, but in the context, given the fact that the narrator refers to himself as an actor (Moliere acted in his own company), the referent is pretty glaring. So this is a story told by a comedian who is essentially improvising the whole thing, Commedia dell' Arte style. So if you're looking for referents, it has a lot more to do with Pirandello than with Kirkeggard.
The only reason for all this background is merely to make the point that this work should not be taken so seriously as it has been by a majority of Amazon reviewers, and by many in the literary community before them. Sure, Camus inserts a lot of angst-ridden, "life's a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing," passages, but it's clear by the context that he is parodying himself and his "compatriotes." This is an intentional shaggy-dog story. He is having us on.
Read it for fun. Just don't overtax yourself looking for "deep" meaning here. It's a literary tromp-l'oeil. If the ending of the book doesn't convince you of that, nothing will.
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on 18 April 2015
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on 14 January 2014
It was a book.

I liked that it was a book

I disliked that it cost money.

Ho was it as a book? I bought it for a friend so I don't know.
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on 13 January 2006
For me I think that it is; the monologue style of the writing draws the reader in ever more progressively, it becomes a very personal read. The truth and objectivity of Camuses writing in 'The Fall' both suprises and enlightens, the mood of the book changes significantly from calm confident almost bravado like in the early stages to the complete opposite, the tearing apart though paradoxical is honest and endures on the readers feelings of past, present and future, certainly a book that you can go back to and read again and again.........at the end of the day we are all human and feel all those feelings that are rendered reading this book. I've got a soft spot for the French after reading this, I have a new respect for them...God bless translators.
Highly recommended.
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