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on 17 February 2018
This short but well-written book provides a thought provoking existentialist consideration of the value of life and death through the eyes of Meursault. His detachment from life, inability to form strong emotional attachments to others and lack of remorse for a crime committed out of pure amorality play at least as significant a part in his subsequent trial as the act of violence itself - a fact which Camus contrives Meursault to accept and the reader to regret.

I liked the short direct sentences of this powerful first person account, which dislocate the reader from Meursault, cleverly replicating his isolation from the other characters. For me part of the satisfaction of Camus's treatment of his theme was the journey of discovery that Meursault and the reader undertake together, since it is only towards the end of the novel, when Meursault finally discovers the value of his own life, that the reader gets to know the narrator.

This is my first exposure to Camus - and won't be my last.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 May 2018
L'Etranger, the first novel by Albert Camus is always very well worth reading, but it has to be admitted that this Penguin edition, translated by Sandra Smith has to be the best English translation on the market, showing a better awareness of certain nuances between French and English. So, if you cannot read French then this is the edition to go for.

First published in 1942 this was not a big hit, in fact it did rather poorly although it was much appreciated. This was to change when Sartre wrote about it, and since then this has come on to be something that many have read throughout the world. Here then we meet Meursault who when this opens has just received a message that his mother has died. Thus he has to make arrangements quickly to get to the home she was in as the funeral is held quickly due to the heat of Algeria.

Returning back home after the funeral, so he carries on as normal, going to work, and meeting a woman he used to work with, and forming a relationship. From there he helps a friend and ends up shooting a man, although we are never really given any reason for this by Meursault, who does seem to be someone who has a certain deadness when it comes to expressing different emotions. Indeed we only ever see him get angry once in this short novel, and that is near the end.

Being prosecuted for the killing, so he is incarcerated with a death sentence hanging over him. What will happen though? As Meaursault realises, his not crying at his mother’s funeral seems to have more bearing on his crime than the actual killing itself. Camus really brings to life the absurdism of life and all the elements of his philosophy in this book, which will make you think and also laugh. After all, one of his neighbours has a dog who he always moans and complains about, but when it goes missing is devastated.

Since this was first published it has caused much debate and many papers on various aspects have been written, it has also influenced many and it has to be admitted is a joy to read. In all then if you want to read about alienation and not conforming, then this is a must have.
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on 21 December 2015
Beginning 'The Outsider' I was taken aback by how amateurish the 1st person narrative appeared. As the book progressed it shone into light, comparing the early staccato speech / descriptive patterns with Meursault's lack of feeling for anything, lack of connection with anything or anyone in life, purely existence without right or wrong to the more descriptive beauty and evocation of feeling he experiences when he accepts his execution and how meaningful life then becomes to him. His complete lack of empathy with other peoples ideas of what is normal, valuable or worthwhile question whether life is only meaningful to those who decide to accept a meaning something he feels is intellectually moot.

Excellent stuff.
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on 6 January 2016
Moving, swept away on the tidal wave of timeless narration. Shocking, disturbing, unsettling under the scorching sun wittering a man so wrongly accused for lack of emotion not felt at the funeral of his mother. This is my introduction to Camus. I will read him fervently.
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on 10 February 2017
Great book! Lots of fun on each page :) Would highly recommend!!
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on 7 February 2018
An interesting read. Short and to the point. The main character has a distinct lack of interest in life but its a decent enough read.
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This is the second book by Keri Smith I have picked up, this one is good but not a patch on wreck this journal.
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on 21 January 2017
Good idea to try help loosen up an obsessively neat and tidy, anally clenched person. Not sure if their s.o.h extended to actually doing it but hey I tried
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on 19 April 2014
I read this on recommendation, and it was an interesting read. The detached way the narrator describes events was oddly reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Also a shorter book, but still feels complete, which is nice compared to some more lengthy epics.
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on 3 March 2015
I am studying L'étranger in A-level French, and have been looking for an decent English translation for times when reading the original gets a bit tedious! This is absolutely the version to go for: the phrasing is clear and accurate, and it has helped me to no end in gaining an overview of the novel before locating specific phrases in the French original. I no longer feel like an 'étranger' to this book!
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