Written by: Albert Camus
Translated by: Matthew Ward
Original release date: 1942
Number of pages: 159
Genre: Philosophical Fiction
Link to book: The Stranger (Thriftbooks)
In The Stranger, the main character Meursault begins his story by visiting his mother’s funeral. The opening line, “Maman died today,” sets a perfect tone for the rest of the short novel. Throughout the book, Meursault’s uncaring and apathetic disposition about his mother’s death, his neighbor’s actions, his girlfriend and even his own life begin to form an absurdist individual, which is Camus’ specialty.
After getting himself in trouble, Meursault finds himself in a courtroom where the guilty penalty means execution. Throughout his time in jail during the trial, Meursault undergoes many changes and begins thinking differently.
After an altercation with an unrelenting priest who continues to annoy and vex Meursault, he finally snaps and begins expressing his true thoughts and feelings.
As the title suggests, Meursault is truly a stranger in society. People don’t understand him. How can a man not cry at his own mother’s funeral? How can a man defend a man who beats his wife? How can a man not ask a god for forgiveness when he has committed a terrible crime?
Throughout the trial several witnesses attempt to stick up for and defend Meursault. Will this be enough to save him? Will Meursault’s lawyer be able to convince the jury that Meursault is a good and decent man despite his flaws or will the hive mind of the jury sentence him to death? Pick up a copy of The Stranger to find out.