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Book Tips - Albert Camus

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1957 was awarded to Albert Camus "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times".

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The Fall (La chute)

This is Camus version of Dostoevsky's Notes from underground. Camus explores the dark corners of human mind
/Pradeep Karuturi, India

A Happy Death (La mort heureuse)

This early work not published until after Camus's death shows him exploring the theme of what it means to be truly alive: a happy life that leads to a happy death. Mearseult appropriates wealth through murder of his consenting friend. He develops a will to happiness (and gets away with murder). Some marvelous lyricism and autobiography of Camus life in Belcourt. A good primer for a first time writer.
/Adrian Devine, United Kingdom
It is very touching.
/Anya Schuyler, United Kingdom

Reflections on the Guillotine (Réflexions sur la guillotine)

If crime is worth its punishment and humans suffer from what is preconceived unethical, unjustifiable, uncouth, but, marred with disgustive allegations, their crimes are unworthy. Even, if perhaps, this is justifiable on the law, which binds the normality of the guilty's allegiance, his crime is not worth death, rather, capital punishment. For, the criminal, on viciousness of his crime, can remediate another life worth living, worth the virtues of his crimes. He can rejuvenate an inner motive worth a salient existence, fundamental in every perspectives. Rather, than being condemned, he deserves a capital punishment, probably, a life imprisonment, long years of incarcerations with labour, never, unaccustomed death. God alone, is justifiable to take life and be the absolute judge. So, Camus adjudication for capital punishment rectifies the barbarism of unlawful death.
/Ikhenoba Joseph, Nigeria
The human world is nothing short of preempt judgement, a motive that establishes the viciousness of crime and the State. A reflection of capital punishment or life sentence for a committed crime is, nevertheless, diverse, a disputation that lasts. In his philosophical book, Camus sees the human world as mechanistic, a fiefdom of crime, of corrupt practices, where those who adjudicate for justice are corrigbly misguided by false truth. Praying execution for life imprisonment, sounds more attuned to the ferocious brutality of executing a soul, who out of his own flaws, his crime, can become a changed Being. In our present world, we see this working well, where a prisoner after his acquition, becomes a law abiding citizen and utmost contribute immensely to the society. It is therefore a good and scholarship philosophical writing, never dryly recited.
/Joseph, Nigeria

Summer (L'été)

So simple but so profound contemporaneously. I finished it directly. I just loved it because it learned me such interesting cultures.
/Irini Lioli, Greece

The Fall (La chute)

The most philosophical of his works, this masterpiece holds a very authentic mirror to the ambivalence and caprice of human mind mired in existential despair and persecuting desolation ...
/Abhishek K. Chamunni, India
The stream of consciousness portrayed through a monologue is amazing! I love this! A very deep book pulling you in and forcing you to view your life differently.
/Bobby, United Kingdom
I am only 24 now, but the book gives me a sense of the world in my 40s when I will be cynical enough to dismiss aside the great satires of life.
/Saroj Khanal, Nepal
I donít know why I like this book. I read it in an afternoon and I liked it very much. It shows the reality of our time.
/Giannis Christopoulos, Greece
It's a perfect portrait of a human being. Very well-written. Camus was a master of writing. I also recommend 'The Plague', 'The Stranger' and 'The First Man'. You must read Camus!
/Jakob, Sweden

The First Man (Le premier homme)

This is a fragment of a great work by a great man and it made me reread all of the novels that I enjoyed the first time! One of the critiques of the book was that it was not Camus writing at the height of his powers, but at the depths of them. This is true, and it reveals how a talent developed, received praise, and yet is still missed and mourned. Read it!
/Kendall Defoe, Canada
The First Man is but Albert Camus. A man who has to legitimize himself within a land which he finds himself a stranger. The book authenticates the themes found in his early writing. In this book, we see Camus in his very body: a French-Algerian who must create himself ex-nihilo.
/Marvin Einstein S., Philippines
It was found in his car after the crash, unfinished, absurdly, just like its author's life. It is beautiful, dreamy and dusty. And is the end.
/Liudmila, Netherlands

The Myth of Sisyphus (Le mythe de Sisyphe)

Because there is a high literary workmanship. Deep philosophical thoughts. Rare intelligence in interpreting the world. The drama and tragedy of it. And especially human vicissitudes to find the right place and his role in the world Human difficult. I think this is probably the best book of the century. And most Straight Nobel Century.
/Elias Foukis, Greece
Within the pages of Camus' work any given reader will find what can only be described as one of - if not the most - profound and thought provoking philosophical arguments for the purpose of life - or rather lack thereof. The absurd is the philosophical fact that is shared with every organism in the universe. We must as a species, homo sapiens sapiens, able to accept the absurd, acknowledge that we wake in a foreign world that we can only struggle to make sense of - what a group, albeit very large, of individuals have attempted using the scientific method. We are, as Camus explains, however, forever confronted with the knowledge that all discoveries about the universe and life, they're all purposeless... pointless... an adventure, a journey that all life forms take together inspite of the fact of the absurd. The universe will wind down in an entropic heat death and all traces, all memories of what happened on a lonely, arguably insignificant planet Earth will collapse into the abyss with it. Death is the ultimate and the final paradox.
/Michael Phillips, United Kingdom
Camus says there can not/should not be any hope for the absurd man. Ant still he manages to create a new notion of hope, the Sisyphean hope. And it is a strong one, mature. Although it is a transparent hope (unique in its absurdness), it still enables us to "imagine a happy Sisyphus". It is not a contradiction, not a flaw in Camus argumentation. I see this hope as a bond between men; this event of sharing makes sense.
/Laura Bitiniece, Latvia
It contains a very interesting philosophical analysis about happiness and what it can mean when there's no hope of change.
/Adrian Georgescu, Romania

The Plague (La peste)

It describes hidden motivations and unconscious thoughts in basis of human behaviors, on other hand, failure to Reality Testing.
/Soroush Mohammadi Kalhori, Iran
"la Peste" is a metaphysic reflection of the resistence against psychicly and moralicly destruction of people, with an historic context.
/David Pflanz, Germany
Characters in the book are too good.
/Sheev Kapadia, India
I believe it is a wonderful and enlightening book that reflects society as a whole. His hidden theme that encompasses society as inherently evil is also extremely well written throught the metaphor of the plague. It is also highly engaging for the reader.
/Hannah, United States
I read it in French at school and it changed my life because it was the first really questioning book I'd ever read. Camus' ideas on existentialism, doing your best in terrible situations and the quote "Chacun de nous doit etre l'un qui reste" - "Each of us must be the one who stays" have remained with me.
/Pat Eggleton, Italy
I read this book many many years ago and it made a big impression on me. I enjoyed everything of this book, the style of the author, the plot, the different characters, the philosophy behind. I felt for few days, those that I needed to read the book, as if I were trapped in the city where the action takes place. All the characters are well described, they seem credible. I enjoyed how Camus describes the city, and the mixture of many different subjects: religion, friendship, distance, death, sickness, work, lies, ethics, compassion, the serah for a meaning in life...
/Carmen Saltó, Sweden
Because he offers a different answer to the war and the human limits.
/Chiara, Italy
It struck a personal chord with me. The Plague, albeit a grim tale, gave me a sense of determination. Even if ultimately I fail, the fact I stood up and "fought the good fight" makes it worthwhile.
/Levi Osborn, United States
As a description of a community living under oppression it's vivid but as an observation on how people deal with each other under a drawn out pressure it is unsurpassed. I had read 'The Outsider' and the force of that tiny book was a shock of mixed feelings. A clear picture of living that refuses to lie. I had to read 'The Plague' for its metaphor. It's the same idea but on a larger, rounder scale and fully fleshed out. Powerful books about what is important about living.
/Alistair Todd, United Kingdom
That book tells me a lot about the heart of the men and teaches me about ethics.
/Estropicio, Mexico
It took a life threatening disease to reveal all humans as they truly are. I now know what it means to be human and alive.
/Francesca Morley, United Kingdom
This work is an insightful look into the destructive forces surrounding humanity and what must be done in the face of these forces. In the midst of hopelessness and despair the only thing left is to simply keep going. Obvious but often overlooked.
/Jeremy Parke, United States
Simply because "La peste" is perfectly in its content and form. It is a highly ethical novel, without any melodramatic weakness and moralistic teaching. Needless to say, against a world going astray, the individual commitment as well as a unflinching adhesion to a humanitarian scheme are the right response to a self-destroying mounting ostracism. It is a book for our time Ė too many egoistical drives and too few selfless visions.
/Francesco Marroni, Italy
This is the first book of Camus's that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. In fact, when I was in the process of reading 'And the Band Played On' by Randy Shilts I found a quote from 'The Plague' and decided to read the book. I was surprised at how the epidemic in 'The Plague' mirrored the AIDS epidemic. Public officials completely ignorant of the seriousness of the epidemic tried to play down the outbreak and doctors struggling ruthlessly to contain the epidemic. The novel is about how individuals cope in extraordinary circumstances to the tremendous and horrible loss of life, to the isolation of loved ones in quarantine and the constant fear that you too could be the next victim of the plague.
/James Berret, United States
It represents man's fears of separation, distance, danger, loss of life and gives us an idea of what a pest is.
/Santiago, Guatemala

The Possessed (Les possédés)

Rather intriguing and thought provoking.
/Mojtaba, Iran

The Stranger (L'étranger)

The first time I read 'The Stranger', what appealed to me was Mersault's worry-free attitude. The second time, however, I realized that neither Mersault nor Camus, the writer, were free from social prejudices against women and other races. In the story, women are appreciated only for their beauty and are seen as items of comfort, while men are put in situations where they have to hit and insult women and kill other men in order to defend their pride - those are social stereotypes that Camus does not seem to overcome at least in this novel. The other problem is racism. We are told that Mersault kills an "Arab," but then no more is said about that "Arab" - he is treated as he was just a fact, not a human. I think those are flaws that Camus did not intend, which shows that since he was not aware of making these mistakes, he was not free from them.
/Jovan D. Abrego, United States
With a trivial starting it makes us reflect on the futility of life.
/Patricia Dí­az, Mexico
It delves deep into the psychology of Mersault, a man detached from society. It attempts to absolve him from his sin, by showing us his internal universe full of complex emotions. Camus tells us that the guillotine is inescapable for the absurdist par excellence, because of his antipathy for the world.
/Keith, United States
It is true, sincere! It is about the struggle with ourselves and with the society at the same time!
/Philip Papazoglou, Greece
The simple language and the thoughts of this novel is the best.
/Soumya Prakash Sahu, India
The way he explained and tried to convince us that no one should weep over his mother's death because he see that death is a release from problems of life and that death is the gate of eternal happiness.
/Farouk Redjdal, Algeria
i like this book, it's amaizing!!! love it
/Sara, Bolivia
The book speaks aptly about the psychological conditions and the alienation of a man who is honest to the core. He gets entangled with various situations of life which he faces with a characteristic directness that ultimately leads to his sentenced for execution. A parable of the modern man trying relentlessly to come in terms with himself with all his loneliness in a utterly purposeless world devoid of any specific meaning.
/Arunodoy Mitra, India
Camus shows us emptiness in a beautiful way. It's not a feel good-novel, it's a story that makes time stand still, just as relevant today as in any other time in history. And the way he writes, Camus, is another reason to read The Stranger. He is in total control of the language and it just doesn't get better than this.
/Marcus Kohlberg, Sweden
It's a book for stranger.
/Myche Siguineau, Canada
The absurd.
/Stephen, United Kingdom
It is very beautiful.
/Elon Joseph, United States
It instantly turns you into a philosopher as you follow the reflections, attitudes and motives of the protagonist, the stranger, who has a totally different worldview about everything commonly assumed to be common to whole humanity - loss of a close relation: death should be expected constantly and, being unaware of its timing, we ought not be shocked by its occurrence at any time it happens; marriage is a decision for 2 to make and not necessarily initiated by one person - it should come coincidentally like something inadvertent and not to be resisted by the knowing (only the ignorant can opt out) - "i may not like you, but if you say we should get married, i have nothing against it" and this stranger does not reply positively even after this position to the question, 'do u love/like me' from his fiancee.
/Chief Conrad Chiedozie, Nigeria
Style of Idea, His existentialism philosophy.
/Sin Touch, Cambodia
Because I want to be just like Meursault. Reading this book is like taking a breath, holding it and when you reached the last page, you let it out. This may not sound pleasant, but it is. A masterpiece.
/Evan Knudsen, Denmark
Everything about it is brilliant. It was very low key and detached, showing just how emotionless and absurd the world is.
/Levi, United States
Because it changed my life, with it I began to look for information of existentialism and I deepened my knowledge in Philosophy specially in Semiotic and Hermeneutics, that book was the beginning of my love to the reading. I'm sure that we all can do something to change the world, to contribute with something to the humanity and justify our existence, like all the authors here did it. And I'm learning of them and of course I will justify my existence in other way to express my thoughts and how is that I see the world, with that contribute to the good advance of the humanity. And help the people who are not able to see with clarity which is happening, because they are immersed in this society.
/Arturo García, Mexico
The way absurdism, and existentialism are portrayed is genius.
/Munir Batarseh, Jordan
I like the book because of how it deals with great existential themes.
/David Dwyer, United States
It's almost indescribable for me, it outlines man when death is with him, and danger is everywhere in the form of pestilence and it showed me a true form of virtue that I have not seen commonly in my life, and it let me vicariously experience that kind of virtue.
/Corin, United States
This book is excellent!! I love the major theme, death, and I am really facinated by how easily I connect with the main character Meursault.
/Mandy Chelsey, United States
In this novel by A. Camus we can recognize ourselves uncovered. With an unsophisticated approach the writer describes the sincere and true stance of human's inner world which is usually disguised under the hypocritical mask of social conventionalities. This is what makes the book 'a true friend of truth'.
/Christos Terzis, Cyprus
The theme of a universe formed by the absurd and incomprehensible - a universe and its societies that claims to respect and embrace truth, impassiveness, and simplicity, yet, at the same time, condemns people that personify and act as paragons for such ideals, and thrusts them into a life of ignominy - this theme has not been lost since 'The Stranger' made its first appearance; and, I dare say, in this world of re-emerging religious idealism in the form of Evangelical Christianity in America, Islamic terrorism throughout the world, manipulation and adulteration of Buddhist principles in Burma, pious clashes in Darfur - I dare say that the message is still as relevant as when first presented, if not more so. Camus's impassive yet passionate forthrightness on our world and universe's absurdity has not, nor will it ever, fall upon disconnected ears.
/Kelly, United States
It is a very interesting book with many messages that are not always clear directly. This means that a slower reading while thinking about the context of the book as well as different devices Camus used is more fruitful and fulfilling. The way that Camus has created a symmetry within the book in a way that conveys the depths of Meursault's character is wonderful in that it is different to the style we read these days. I read it in French, the original language, and it was refreshing to have a book with enough depth to really think about and in which many things could be interpreted. While I did read it in class and with a teacher's explanations, I am glad I read it for the simple reason that after the couple of nights reading, 10 or so weeks could be spent explaining all the parts of the book.
/Adam Huttner, Australia
It perfectly describes the futility of it all.
/Ida, Norway
It's like freaken awesome.
/Brianna, United States
Simply striking read for a young man. It has a mystery at its heart: the honesty to feelings, the inability to misrepresent those feelings. A short novel with few characters and much resonance. There is a philosophy, the incarnation of myth, the sensuality of the everyday. Two halves.
/John Sharman, United Kingdom
A unique tale of an alienated man told in the first person. He is proscribed by society not only for having committed an inadvertant murder but more so for his straight honesty in confessing his alienation with prevailing social sentiments unrelated to the murder which go to serve as evidences and add to his committed guilt. He is more accused of the crimes he has not been aware of. In other words this book represents the bewildered struggle of a man trying to find a meaning with life, which he enjoys living, yet in the end finds absurd. So much is told within so little a span in the straight forward narrative of this book which first I read as the Penguin publication 'The Outsider' and started recognising the outsider inside myself soon after. I could not resist the temptation of translating this book in Bengali, my mother tongue. I am presently trying to find a publisher for the translation. It is one of the many books that demands a fresh rethinking of this life we live. I never have read its kind ever before or after.
/Soumitra Lahiri, India
It was an easy-to-read book that had an amazing quick moving plot. I also love the existentialist inspiration for the book.
/Alex, United States
I like it because it makes people think about absurdity in our own lives, and ask questions about ourselves and the reasoning behind our way of life.
/Major Dhaliwal, Canada
Simple effective prose that is ample enough to allow a vision for the reader but never extraneous and archetypal of the existentialist thought. The idea of the absurd and our expectations of each other in society is portrayed as ridiculous as the main character's ignorance to society's standards.
/Scott Siverling, United States
The depiction of alienation and the living with "absurd" amused me.
/Shishir, Bangladesh
The author's philosophy transmitted through this brilliant novel. 'The Stranger' is a must-read.
/David R., Canada
When I read "The Stranger' I was completely ignorant of its recognition or the author. It was a decision of what to read on summer holiday near the beach and I quickly picked it from my home bookshelf as one of my family members had read it in the past. I did not even get into trouble of searching the title or read any introductory details about the author. I only started reading the book, exactly as intended, at the beach, under the sun in Kefallonia, where I happened to spend my summer. The book was so full of light, a true revelation. It didn't surprise me then. It absorbed me. And ever since, for years, I have been searching hard to find any word that would make me feel and understand to say anything about it than: light! No other book has given me anything similar, than 'The Stranger'.
/Paraskevi Matsouka, Greece
He was the best author in the history of literature, analysing the behaviour of characters in his stories to reach for the causes of problems in the human spirit and to defeat the sadness and hardness of life by the innovating instrument in his famous qoutes.
/Moataz Mohsen, Egypt
The best ... most 'absurd' ... subtly touches the deep, unmarked and hegemonic ways of social hegemony ...
/Steven, Canada
Because he's great, I like his way of thinking about life and the entire story.
/Sara Soria Estrugo, Bolivia
It is a great fiction story, written in a very simple maner and as powerful as life itself.
/Saúl Alvarez Lara, Colombia
It is a great fictional story, written in a very simple manner and as powerful as life itself.
/Saúl Alvarez Lara, Colombia
For describing a portrait of a stranger in society and exposing ideas of revolt and absurdity.
/Arminas, Lithuania
I read it when I was 17. I was left deeply disturbed as I completed the reading. With my experience, I suggest teenagers to avoid this. But it's a must read book once, twice or thrice in life. It tells lucidly, frankly and carefreely how this universe conspires against an innocent soul to send him in gallows. But, I do not agree with the protagonist's indifference and apathy towards life throughout the novel ...
/Dev Raj Joshi, Nepal
Meursault is amazingly indifferent to the extent that you feel like slapping him and telling him to speak up and defend himself when he is being tried for murder. But that is his character - this indifference. I read this book as a part of a school course Rebellion & Conformity in Literature. We staged a retrial of Meursault and though the prosecution tried their best to prove him guilty, the jury still found him not guilty. I was playing the part of the caretaker of the home, and I believe my take on the character helped the defense's case.
/Mandar, United States
Existentialist view of the conscience.
/Akshaya, India
I teach this novel to high school juniors, and the concept of an absurd hero is fascinating to them. Camus' character Meursault refuses to lie or say more than he feels - this is what makes him heroic. In the end of the novel, Meursault opens himself up the indifference of the world, and is finally happy. Just like Sisyphus, Meursault overcomes his fate by accepting it.
/Cindy, United States
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