*takes a deep breath*
Here we are again.
Going back to school, yay, homework, yay, exams, yaaay ! Wait. I was being sarcastic.
You got it, I recently got back to school and yes, there were a lot of tears.
Holidays were great though. Lots of things happened. I went to Spain (oh, how I missed las tapas!), I went to Mika's concert in Carcassonne on july (again), I hung out with my friends, I slept, I saw my cousins, I slept, I went to some parties, to the beach (where I befriended jellyfishes),I slept and I slept. Oh and I also slept. There was a lot of sleeping.
But I was also able to read a few books during the summer and to re-read some of Stephen King's books because Stephen King is... the king (my punchlines are awesome, I know, thank you).
That's why I wanted to talk about a book that I should have already read a long time ago : L'Etranger (The Stranger in english), written in 1942 by Albert Camus.
Albert Camus was a French writer, journalist, playwright and philosopher who was involved in the french resistance during the Second World War. His work was linked to the absurdism, a philosophical current created during the horror of the Second WW denouncing the vacuity of human beings and their senseless world. Camus is a writer I really like (La Peste, L'Homme Révolté and Les Justes are masterpieces!) and L'étranger is definitely one of this best novels.
Albert Camus himself.
Now, what is this novel about ? Well, I couldn't really tell even if I wanted to. That's the point of the absurdism. Nothing makes sense.
What you need to know :
- Mersault, living in french Algeria, is the main character but also the narrator of the story.
- He's told by someone that his mother has recently died at the very beginning of the book. « Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. » («Today, mom has died. Or perhaps yesterday, I don't know.») That quotation became iconic.
- Later, he shoots and kills an Arab who was in conflict with his friend Raymond for no reason at all and has to go on trial. Will he be judged guilty and sentenced to death ? You'll have to read the book to find out.
The novel deals with an emptiness typical of the absurdism. The character of Mersault, the world he lives in, everything happening around him don't make any sense. It is particularly illustrated by the trial scene, which is, in my opinion, one of the best scenes in french literature.
Mersault is not only accused to be a murderer but also to be insensitive : he wasn't affected by his mother's death nor by his crime... Conclusion : he has no soul, he's a monster. The law is trying to provide rational explanations for things that aren't while Mersault is just standing there, spectator of his own trial. We're trying to understand. Then we understand as well as Mersault does that there is, well... nothing to understand. Questions that cannot be answered.
The topics of "death" and "God" are also covered at the end of the novel, which is fascinating. I enjoyed it so much that I had to re-read the whole thing. It truly is a masterpiece, a beautiful masterpiece that tells you a lot about the world you live in. This senseless world trying to find some sense to the senseless decisions that we can make. Does my sentence make any sense ? Idk.
But seriously, you have to read it if you haven't already. You really have to.
This is, without a single doubt, one of my favorite novels. I almost wish I would have analized the ending as there are so many things to say about it but then a lifetime is sadly not enough. I hope you enjoyed this article anyway. What am I saying ? You have no choice cause books are love, books are life. And tea. And chocolate. Okay, mostly chocolate, let's be realistic for a second.
Thanks for reading, I'll see you in two weeks !