Why 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.”
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
A peerless work of philosophical fiction that is as shocking today as when it was first published, the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Albert Camus' The Outsider is translated by Joseph Laredo.
Meursault will not pretend. After the death of his mother, everyone is shocked when he shows no sadness. And when he commits a random act of violence in Algiers, society is baffled. Why would this seemingly law-abiding bachelor do such a thing? And why does he show no remorse even when it could save his life? His refusal to satisfy the feelings of others only increases his guilt…