The Stranger

The Stranger



The Pequod Review:

Albert Camus’s first novel The Stranger is narrated by the title character Mersault, who views life as a meaningless succession of sights, sounds and events. At the start of the book, Mersault casually relays the news of his mother’s death:

My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I received a telegram from the old people's home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Very sincerely yours.’ That doesn't mean anything. It might have been yesterday.

Later, Mersault sleeps with a woman on the beach and kills an Arab man for no explicable reason, both of which arouse merely indifference. When the woman he sleeps with asks if he loves her, Mersault says the question “doesn’t mean anything, but I don’t think so.” Even when he murders the Arab, all he recognizes is that he has ruined “the exceptional silence of a beach where I had been happy.” It is only in prison, awaiting death, that Mersault comes into his own and finds passion and meaning in his life, as well as a measure of honor.