Book Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)

Release: 1942

I’m beginning to find that there is an abundance of books I should have already read. Saying I’ve put it off for years, is becoming tired. It is true, especially with the classics. There is always another classic out there that I haven’t read, but that I know deep down I should have. I put it on hold for different books, or video games, or TV and eventually I get around to picking it up. Almost every time, I regret not having done it sooner. Classics are often classics for a reason, and while some of them might not come across as exciting as one would hope, there is almost always something of value, something to appreciate. If you haven’t read The Stranger by Albert Camus then you are doing yourself a disservice. It is a quick, simple, and fascinating read that leaves me wanting more Camus.

The novel is an examination of one man who, soon after his mother’s death, is involved in  a murder. His numbness and lack of interest in the things around him, leads him to be perceived as an outsider, a stranger, someone that society can easily imagine perpetrating this crime. He is punished for his ‘otherness’. Though his involvement in the crime is clear, the circumstances of his trial lead the reader on a interesting journey. First, I found him detestable and annoying. He showed no personality, no interest in the things around him. Everything was handled without the slightest care. As the story progressed his apathy became more and more appealing and by the time he is facing the trial I really liked him. I won’t explain the details, but it seems to me that the book is exploring the absurdity of the judicial system as well as the absurdity of adhering to societies expectations.

The Stranger is an incredible novel, worthy of every bit of praise it receives. It is short and simple, but the message can become incredibly complex. I find, even now, I’m thinking about it. It has been two weeks since I finished the book, but I still haven’t fully digested it. I want to read it again, and I want to further explore Albert Camus‘ other novels. If you are looking for a light read, or a classic, The Stranger fulfills both requirements. Don’t hesitate to pick it up. I came in planning on giving it 4 stars, but the more I think about it the more fascinating and wonderful I find it. I think it is only fair that I award it the full 5 stars.

35 Novels from 35 Countries

  1. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (United Kingdom)
  2. We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen (Denmark)
  3. The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (Kenya)
  4. The Stranger by Albert Camus (France)

One thought on “Book Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)”

  1. Thanks for posting about this book. I read it as part of my French Literature A-level (many years ago now!) but it is a book that has always stayed with me. I also like your theme of 35 novels from 35 countries – great way of exploring uncharted book territory! Brontë Turner


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