Why did I love this book?
I read voraciously as a kid and this is one of those early books that influenced me most.
Once I’d started writing fiction—late, in my thirties—I focused on mavericks and oddballs. They don’t match our familiar categories. They’re exotic - richly different. They may have intriguing and startling inner lives. They have a deal to say about identity, sense of self, and motive. They also highlight convention, albeit in negative image. And they share a stance with writers themselves, who are often detached, peering in on life from the outside.
It might have been many other writers, but it was Camus (through The Outsider and The Fall) who first impressed me with confessional voice and narration. It’s all established in the opening lines, slapping you with Meursault’s chilling, oddball indifference. “My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.”