Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Stranger

The StrangerThe Stranger by Albert Camus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"...I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe."

I got intrigued when I saw this book displayed in a well-known local book shop. I thought I might try to read an Albert Camus book since his name sounds familiar. I could have heard about him during an English class when I was in high school. I was curious, so I looked for a copy online.

Initially, I thought it was a bit like "Catcher in the Rye" reading the words of an angst-ridden character. It's not just that. The story was told in a way that I got to explore the main character's world-- from his mundane, everyday routine until the occurrence of a couple of tragedies (the death of his mother and his killing of a man) that shaped the outcome of the story.

Surprisingly, the book made me sad. What makes it sadder still is the possiblity that the feeling of hopelessness bordering on indifference is a part of the real world and a fact of life. The last quarter part of the book was like swimming in the main character's thoughts and slowly drowning in them. It is such a short novel, but it shouldn't be considered "light" reading.

After reading the book, I realized I shouldn't have read it given the circumstances I am currently experiencing in my life. I couldn't help but be influenced by the thoughts the main character has shared in this story. Somehow, I got to understand how it would probably feel like seeing the world from Monseiur Meursault's point of view and living in his head. Then again, there is a personal lesson or two to be learned here. It is up to the readers to find them. What I learned, I will just keep to myself.

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