Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home…
From Albert Camus’s The Stranger (translation)
Short novel. Simple premise. A man gets arrested and persecuted for essentially not grieving his mother’s death the “proper” way. Sure there is more it, but this is the main idea.
This novel taught me so much about seeing the world through multiple perspectives. It’s one thing to know the centric tendencies of people. It is quite another to realize that you are most likely participating in those tendencies. Think about how many people out there would, in the event of a mother’s death, shift blame to the son when he shows no real emotion or concern for the death. The narrator in The Stranger actually goes on a datewith a woman he met the day following the death.
But Camus handles the subject beautifully. Aside from the murder of an Arab (which would have been no more than a misdemeanor during the setting’s time in France) the narrator is an all around good, innocent man.… Read the rest