Book: The Stranger/The Outsider

Author: Albert Camus

Rating: 3.5/5

The Stranger/The Outsider-Albert Camus

“The Outsider” is a narrative about Meursault, a man of French descent who lives in Algeria during the French colonization. Meursault does not follow the typical social conventions of a French-Algerian bachelor. He lives a simple life, acting on impulse while viewing life itself with a calm detachment. Meursault never lies, and through this lacks the emotional responses expected of him by society. These characteristics of Meursault are the foundation of the novel, which describes his life from his mother’s death to an event that results in a perturbing trial.

Social/Historical context:

The setting of this novel is during the 1920’s in Algiers, when Algeria was still a French Colony. One aspect of the story is where it touches on the particulars of Mediterranean culture and the influences of conflicting religious beliefs and social values, occurring between French-born immigrants and Algerian-born Arabs. Among these strong values emerges Meursault, providing an ironic and aloof view of the hypocrisy of society. Through his narrative the story conveys its main message of an existential nature, describing the individualism of life without any predetermining purpose. All the events that occur are a part of an otherwise simplistic story, as the real underlying significance is where the narrative examines many philosophical points such as morality and the meaning of life itself.

Writing Style:

“The Outsider” is written in a first person narrative, with a simplistic, to-the-point style. The writing contains little emotion with a lot of sensory information, appropriate to Meursault’s character. The style corresponds perfectly with the nature of the story, as the direct and simple language allow the reader a deeper insight to Meursault’s thoughts.

My Thoughts:

“The Outsider” is a perfect example of a book that causes you to reconsider much about the world long after its completion. Though not the most entertaining and captivating of storylines, its underlying message of the irony in life is very interesting and reflective. I would recommend this book to everyone because of its informative nature. Though it’s not a story I would read over and over, the outlook on life Camus presents is very enlightening whether one agrees with his views or not.

Book Reviewed by Ciara Johnston

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