As a dilettante translator I find this book fascinating, even though I don’t read French.
Literary texts are sacred and you cannot alter them; translations on the other hand are a more or less faithful reflection of the original text, but can be altered, changed, or renewed. Did Proust write "Remembrance of Things Past" or "In Search of Time Lost" or “In Search of Lost Time"? My favourite is Gabrielle Roy's "Bonheur d'occasion" published in English as "The Tin Flute". As a general point, a translation transmigrates one text for another; often the "mistakes" don't matter (to the monoglot reader). On the other hand, the title is the only part of a work of literature known even to those who haven't read it. I note in passing that étranger “doesn’t just mean "stranger" but also "foreigner", and in the colonial context, that could have been a possibility too. It's a bit like 9 to 5 by Sheena Easton and 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton.
If you're into European Literature, read on.
Detachment. Misunderstood. An outsider. The first time I read Albert Camus's The Outsider (also known as The Stranger for U.S. publication), I was recommended that this was his best work. With over a little 100 over pages, divided into two parts, this is a story of Meursault, a man that doesn't connect with the world of the living.
The book opens with a funeral of Meursault's mother. He doesn't feel any sadness of his mother, let alone feel anything at all. He shares a cigarette with a caretaker as his mother's friends attend and watch him, he doesn't shed a tear. After a few days, he met a girl named Marie and they became intimate. He made a friend as well with a colleague of his (Raymond) and soon they embark on a beach where one choice change the life of Meursault that leads him a destination he accepted, even he feels nothing towards the world of the living.
The Outsider in many ways speaks in volumes. The right to judge someone, the absurd condition of humankind and the right to challenge one's belief. There are many parts of this book that speaks well of people who many do not understand. I felt Meursault is not a tragic character but a character, in general, people do not understand. I for one... do. There is so much richness in this book that if read between the words, I understand that a person as simple how Meursault thinks about the world itself, its deeper than it covers the depths of a simple book. In fact, there is so much to explore and even discuss the meanings as much as how incredible and carefully written this book where its not meticulous and yet, well written in many ways. I truly enjoy the book as much as I understand the world Meursaultthinks he is in. Where one is forced to believe in God, he doesn't. Where one believes he had no attachments to his girlfriend Marie of love, but he would do what she wants him to. He did love his mother, but in his own way that nobody understands. In a point where how Meursault live his life, he felt indifferent towards what is in front of him.
I enjoy reading The Outsider. To me, I would recommend anyone with an open mind to read this. This is truly a book I consider a classic and its a rare thing to enjoy this much. I should have taken more time to finish this since its a short book but in the end, its worth finishing it.
Se taire, c'est laisser croire qu'on ne juge et ne désire rien, et, dans certains cas, c'est ne désirer rien en effet.
Mais on envie ce qu'on n'a pas, tandis que le révolté défend ce qu'il est.
De cette observation, on ne peut déduire que ceci: la révolte est le fait de l'homme informé, qui possède la conscience de ses droits. Mais rien de nous permet de dire qu'il s'agit seulement des droits de l'individu.