The Stranger by Albert Camus

A book reviewed by Literary Disco, now checked off my own reading list.

I write this review before I listen to the Literary Disco podcast, so that my own opinions are formed before I let any outside source change that. 

It’s a dry read. The narrator seems to just state his actions; no emotions. As I read on, I’m getting that that might be the point. The character is a simple man who seems to be coasting through life, and that’s relatable, but it makes for a boring read. I kind of feel like him; just there, in my life, but my life is rather boring. The narrative is basically: I did this. Then I did that. You see how I wouldn’t be interested in reading something like that, but I wasn’t going to stop because I was determined to get through it, so that I could write an honest review. Plus, it’s a classic. It was at least a tolerable read.

However, it’s familiar writing. I find myself writing some mundane sentences about a character’s routine sometimes, and I don’t even want to read through it, so I re-write. Note to self: don’t do that.

Anyway, as I continued reading from the beginning, I thought maybe he just doesn’t know how to feel about his mother’s death, hence, the nonchalance in his narrative. I was filling in the blanks myself, and an average reader doesn’t do that, so I can’t expect my readers to fill in the blanks. I guess the point is that he lacks emotion. 

Story wise, it is actually a little interesting once you understand that the character really is just content with his life with no desire for anything more or less. He’s just there, in his life. He goes along with the people around him, and his reasoning for doing things is, “Well, why not?”

I still don’t understand what drove him to the murder. I gather that maybe it was another one of those, “Well, why not?” moments. 

I enjoyed the parts where he’s on trial. The whole procedure is narrated, and the reader also gets what’s going on in the character’s head as his own trial is going on, and he’s really not concerned about what the outcome will be. I found it interesting, but it doesn’t make for a must-read story. I guess the fact that it’s a classic does though, according to the rest of the world.

I did also enjoy the imagery of the guillotine and the execution process since it takes place in the past.

It definitely makes you think about life though. It was more of a philosophical read than a good story. I enjoy suspense and fantasy novels, but even if I were to read a personal narrative of a regular Joe, I’d still like the character to have some depth than to have him doing things because he feels nothing. I mean, what made him that way? Has he always been like that? That’s just me. This book wasn’t really my cup of tea. I could relate to the character, but it makes for a boring story when the character doesn’t care. Nothing was at stake. All he did was end up with some realizations about life.

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