logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Albert-Camus
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-24 17:13
THE PLAGUE by ALBERT CAMUS
The Plague - Stuart Gilbert,Albert Camus

3-1/2 out of 5 stars. Translated from French.

I purchased this audiobook because I'm into apocalyptic/dystopian books and thought from the cover that this is what the book would be about. It's slightly like that. There's an outbreak of the bubonic plague in a town in Algeria which ends up being cut off from the outside world until it ends. So, an American book would have mayhem, bad guys trying to take over, love in the middle of the plague, starvation - this book had none of that. There was some discouragement but even the camp where people were stuck for months wasn't bad. The American version would have the camp be a hell on earth. There were a lot of speeches by different characters - a couple were actually moving. The book ended very mildly too. I'm just not used to this type of non-dystopian book.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-08-22 10:51
Book Review: The Adulterous Woman by Albert Camus
The Adulterous Woman - Albert Camus

Three very different short stories from French writer Albert Camus, translated by Jusin O'Brien:

- "The Adulterous Woman" poignantly confronts existential loneliness and what we do to avoid it


- "The Silent Men," my favourite of the three stories, shows the complex interaction between the haves and the have-nots. With heart rending simplicity Camus shows how a changing society leaves everyone adrift and alone


- "The Guest" is the most depressing story as it shows how an act of good will by the teacher is misinterpreted and misunderstood with threatening consequences.

Worth the read for Camus' evoctave descriptions and cutting insight into the human condition.

On a practical note, the small size of the book was convenient to pop into my purse and read as I found a chance!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-05-30 14:12
Killing an Arab
The Outsider - Albert Camus

When I was a lot younger one of my favourite bands was The Cure. I remember sitting in my lounge room with my friends with The Cures greatest hits ablum blaring out and as soon as the tape came to an end I would jump up, and immediately flick it over onto the otherside, and press play before my neighbour would cut in and throw Sergeant Peppers on so as to break the monotony. One of the songs that I remember clearly was 'Killing an Arab', though I have to admit that I had no idea what it was about. Actually, I thought I knew what it was about, but in reality I didn't because, well, I hadn't even hear of Albert Camus, let along L'Etranger (I even played it in the lead up to the gulf war in protest against it – once again having no idea what it was about).

 

 

Sure, I might have thought that it was some criticism of the Middle East crisis, even though it was pretty relevant when the Gulf War flared up, especially how the Arab that is killed halfway through the book is and remains nameless (as do all of the other Arabs in the story), however what I didn't realise was that this one song is actually about that event upon which the entire book turns – the murder, in cold blood no less, of an Arab on the beach. Sure, one could argue that Meursalt was provoked, especially since there had been an ongoing tussle between Meursalt and his friends and these unnamed Arabs, but the thing is that Meursalt simply doesn't seem to feel any emotion. Okay, it does play out along the lines of him walking down the beach (with a gun in his hand nonetheless, though we must remember that the reason he took this gun was so that his friend didn't do anything stupid with it), and it is pretty hot – in fact it is so hot that he is suffering from heatstroke – when he comes across this Arab who pulls a knife on him, so he shoots him, thinks about it a bit, and then puts four more bullets into him just to make sure he is dead. He then wanders off pondering on how hot it is.

 

The problem that I find with this book is that Trevor has already written a review on Goodreads that so captures the essence of the book (and in fact it was his review that made me want to read the book, and also the fact that one seems to constantly come across references of an Arab being shot on the beach) that I feel that there is little, if anything, further that I can say. However, as I am apt to do, I feel that I would be wasting the time that I spent reading this book if I didn't actually write about it.

 

The thing about the book is in the title – The Stranger, The Outsider, or as it is in French L'Etranger. Before I started reading the book my thoughts were all about how it actually feels to be an outsider in society – sort of what I am like – being able to connect, but in a way not being able to connect. Okay, I would hardly consider myself an outsider in the vein of Meursalt, but being in part an introvert, and not having any real empathy about me (though I would have to say that I have little, if any, empathy for people who suffer from first world problems), I can sort of connect with him (though I'd hardly say I'm unempathetic – it's just that I don't have any empathy for people with first world problems).

 

http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/346983/slide_346983_3666001_free.jpg

 

Mind you the thing that makes him an outsider is that he didn't cry at his mother's funeral. That to me doesn't really mean all that much because I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there that wouldn't cry, let alone attend, their mother's funeral (and not being a hugely tearful guy, I'm not sure if I would cry at my mother's funeral, though since my mother isn't dead yet I can't say whether that will be true or not – still I did cry at the end of King Lear).

 

Camus suggests that anybody who doesn't cry at their mother's funeral is condemned to death – though the truth is that we are all condemned to death (as the priest says at the end). It is interesting that Trevor suggests that we all assume that he is executed, yet the book never actually tells us that he was executed. In reality we don't know whether or not he will be, though from Camus' admission I suspect that he is. The thing is that it is not so much that he was executed because he killed the Arab – in fact I'm not entirely sure whether anybody actually cared, the only reason that he was put on trial was so that people could see that you can't really go around randomly shooting people. Rather, as Camus suggested, it had more to do with the fact that he refused to lie. He wasn't executed for murder he was executed for being honest.

 

That's the thing with honesty – it gets you into a lot of trouble. They say that honesty is the best policy, but I guarantee you that if you are honest then bad things are going to happen to you. In fact if you are honest you probably aren't going to have all that many friends: hi, how are you? Pretty crap. You see with that one question, everybody, except maybe with your closest friends, expects you to lie. You could feel pretty horrible, have had one of the most miserable days, but when somebody asks you how you are they don't want to hear the truth – in fact that it is the last thing that they want to hear. No, they want you to lie.

 

This brings me to the point of the trial – that is another place where honesty is certainly not going to get you anywhere. If you are up for murder and you are asked why you killed the victim, the wrong (even if it is true) answer would be 'because he/she deserved it, and if I had a chance I would do it again'. No, you are actually supposed to do the opposite – it was the heat of the moment, or whatever other excuse one can come up with. Mind you, it might be suggested that the whole idea of a trial is to get to the truth, but in reality it comes down to simply who can tell the better story, and who can impress the jury better.

 

Then there is the question of freedom. Meursalt is told that the reason he has lost his freedom is because he is being punished. But he doesn't seem to particularly care whether he can wander around outside or not. Okay, sure, he does go through some doubts, suggesting that he should have spent more time watching executions to see how one behaves in an execution, but in the end he realises that despite the fact that he is trapped in the cell, he still has his freedom. This realisation comes about when the chaplain finally comes in and tells him that since he is about to die then maybe he should confess to God. To Meursalt this is absurd – he doesn't believe in God, and it doesn't matter that he is facing the chopping block, he doesn't seem to see any particular reason why he should believe in God. It seems to be a part of this absurd idea where people, who are facing death, suddenly see that it might be a good idea to suddenly start believing in something that they have never believed in their entire life.

 

Okay, I'm not an atheist, so sometimes I find it hard to see the nature of this absurd world that writers like Camus explore, of if I do I see it through the eyes of a Christian. Mind you, the fact that I actually read this book as opposed to simply writing it off as another piece of humanist rubbish, as a lot of Christians are apt to do, probably says a lot more about the nature of my faith than what the general population generally consider Christians to be. That doesn't mean that I don't consider the world to be absurd and pointless at times – in many cases it is. However this absurdity comes into play very much in the Christian sphere. I have heard many of them run around claiming that God has a plan for our lives, and then start pulling out old Testament characters to prove it – yet to me this is absurd. What makes the Christian whom 'God has a plan for their lives' any different from the thousands, if not millions, of other Christians out there.

 

Anyway, I think I've waffled on enough, and probably should finish this off, especially since I do have to go to work tomorrow, and it already is getting pretty late.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1651003446
Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-03-08 00:00
The Fall
The Fall - Justin O'Brien,Albert Camus The ramblings of an asshole, whose every act of generosity stems from validation, turned into philosopher.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-02-11 10:26
Book Review: 'The Sea Close By' by Albert Camus
The Sea Close by - Albert Camus

More a booklet than a book, THE SEA CLOSE BY contains two of Albert Camus's essays. On the surface there isn't much to these stories other than the stunningly beautiful prose. But, dig deeper - read the words again and again, and these two essay become allegories: the sea (in THE SEA CLOSE BY) for life itself and Algiers (in SUMMER IN ALGIERS) for adulthood.

 

The joys and challenges of the sea journey so vividly described ["we bend beneath savage winds blowing endlessly ... Each cry we utter is lost, flies off into limitless space ..."] correlate with the ups and downs of our small, ordinary lives, tossed in the vastness of an unknowable universe in the same way the boat is driven by "the imperious wind." The primordial "antique sea", in endless motion, is both the bringer of life and the taker of life; like life itself, the source of both humanity's "unbearable anxiety" and "irresistible charm."

 

Although ending on a glimmer of hope, the adult human doesn't fare so well in "Summer in Algiers." Camus observes the harshness of the summer's heat on mankind and how young virile men, lose their beauty and their hope in remorseless heat of the land. ["they wagered on the flesh, knowing they would lose"] We, as humans, live knowing we will die and as the young men in Algiers "haste to live that borders on waste", we squander our youth and burn our passion out too soon. This illusion of living, of indulging in experiences, Camus says leads to an old age without much love or hope for a man (or woman, one assumes!); only a waiting, a merciless "end between his wife and his children."

 

Despite his melancholic condemnation of "hope" as the most awful of the ills released on humanity by the opening of Pandora's box, Camus ends his description of Algiers with the first autumn rainfall. As we enter the last phase of physical existence after the "bitter lesson" of summer, we are liberated by our tears from the "violence and hardening" of a youth spent too fast. As he ages, and exchanges hope for an acceptance of life's harsh realities, Camus implies, man can, at last, awaken to the "only really virile love in this world," the fleeting union of two states of being - life and death.

 

Highly recommended for the sheer joy of reading such lyrical, profound prose.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?