The Stranger by Albert Camus:A Book Review

albertThis novel  is subject to differently  literary  perspectives and interpretations.  One of the perspectives  that  made  my toes curl  is the interpretation that this story is on  the importance of believing in God as the  “one” who  gives  right direction in your life.  When I read  this opinion as in opinion with a  capital O , my hair stood on end as if those who claim so are holier -than –thou. Now , why do those people think so? What parts of the story that make them draw the conclusion?

Meursault is  an enigmatic character in the story. You may describe him weird or idiosyncratic because he tends to be apathetic   toward society.  Perhaps, the holier-than-thou understood him  based on their religious beliefs and teachings. For examples:  first, he showed no interest in the funeral. He did not cry over her mother’s death. Rather, he was found   insincere ; he was  found  impolite , for  he slept through the funeral  vigil. In fact, in the story, you might as well revolt at what he responded to his employer upon his  request for leave of absence, “Sorry, sir, but it’s not my fault, you know.”  Second, he does  not care much about the people around. For him, they are merely observers.  Fourth, he is not sure of his marriage or relationship. Fifth, he is content with his life.  Finally, he is an agnostic.

I hate to say this   but those arguments above, notably the last one, are arguments of stupidity. They have nothing to do with God. We can just conclude that  Meusault, the protagonist, is just a subject of scientific and philosophical studies. Scientifically, we  can jump to the conclusion that the  arguments from one to 5 are psychological. Turn to a behavioral psychologist and psychiatrist or more than a scientist  if you want to get at what I am driving  at here. On the other hand, philosophically, the concept of the story, particularly signifying  Meusault’s life crisis  is an example of absurdism. Review your philosophy.

To remonstrate  aginst the holier-than-thou’s opinion  that this story is on  the importance of believing in God as the  “one” who  gives right  direction in your life, atheists along with their other word  families have been living in the right direction without the teachings or  the ridiculously so-called “divine guidance or intervention” .  To confirm my point, I suggest that you read the anthropological life of  some countries in the world.  A library of information is accessible in the internet. If you are a Luddite, enter the   huge libraries  in your place and be a scholar in an Ivory Tower.  Besides, don’t dare that I have no any   ideas of what atheist life is like because I bear witness to that.

How about you, fellas? What are your perspectives on it?

My Review

Ideally, I wanted to give it 1 star for the inconsistencies of the story. I believe that convicting someone on the grounds  for the six arguments above  is misleading and jurisprudentially illogical  in order to make the story a hit among readers. Furthermore, among the people the main character, Meursault, got along with, only  his employee was not included  in standing as a witness  in the court. I wonder why?   Nevertheless,  there is no difference if I still gave it 4 or 5 stars  on the grounds  that Albert  Camus intended to write such a novel to apply  his philosophy on Absurdism  drawing from the criminal incident he may have known of. In other perspective, since writing is an art, the other significant parts such as when Meusault   was asked to ask forgiveness   from God for all the sins he had committed, particularly his unusual agnosticism , and when he was  prejudiced against his unconventional attitude  could have been how hegemonic the religious atmosphere  in his generation  to minor groups was .  In other words, as a result, Camus’s trick did the justice to this novel; it is a beautiful story. I felt what Camus must have intended to trickle  off- feeling of emptiness. Besides, I liked the fact that he used the first person since it signifies  the reader himself/herself.  Also, the prose and the structure of the sentences, I believe,  are well –translated. So , I would say that the translator is competent. I wish I could understand French so I could know the real feelings in Camus’ books.

I want to consider this novel as one of my  favorite books as well as Albert Camus as one of my favorite writers. I was moved. I was bothered until I was reduced to tears. I guess I have found someone who could possibly penetrate through my   uncharted   universe. And please, do not invoke God, for I am done with this theological business. So far, his other books are now on my list  like and I hope to read them some time. ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )





  1. Close to reading this, see if you can get a hold of The Mersault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, published this year. In this book an Algerian writer attempts to give a voice to the family of the murdered Arab in L’Etranger. An interesting counterpoint,written from a different time and angle of course.

    PS. That is the most bizarre cover I have ever seen for this book. What were they thinking?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, fantastic review Joey!
    I read The Stranger earlier this year so my memory of it is a bit blurry, but I am genuinely interested and confused regarding the religious interpretations of this book. Whilst I believe that everyone is entitled to interpret a book how they wish, I believe that’s quite a long stretch. However, I suppose the beauty of this book is that, because it draws our attention to two kinds of injustice, how we interpret it could be influenced by how we perceive the world.

    My majors in university were Psychology and Sociology so I interpreted this book as an inquisition into what we perceive and define as ‘human’. Mersault’s critics called him inhuman, but because Mersault is human but just acts and thinks differently to others, does that make him less human?

    But anyway, this book is such a great topic of discussion, and I think I haven’t really developed all my thoughts for this book yet. Regardless, great review and discussion!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks ^^ I have just realized that there are different beholders, indeed.
      By the way, someone commented on it on my Goodreads that Mersault may have Asperger’s . But I don’t think he does, for one of the symptoms of Asperger’s is lack of non-verbal communication skills. ^^

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s very true! I think that’s possible, but you are right. I think the more important point was how we treat people who are different, rather than how they are different. But I think that’s the great thing about this book – it makes great discussion!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree to your idea that we respect one another no matter how different we are. However, concerning the religion if you don’t mind me putting it , I hate the fact that people tend to be holier-than-thou forgetting the most important teaching of their religions. Well, that’s the way it is.

        Liked by 1 person

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