Book review: The Outsider by Albert Camus

Synopsis

Meursault is different. He will not lie. He will not pretend. He is true to himself.

So when his mother dies and he is unmoved, he refuses to do the proper thing and grieve. Returning to Algiers after the funeral, he carries on life as usual until he becomes involved in a violent murder.

In court, it is clear that Meursault’s guilt or innocence will not be determined by what he did or did not do.

He is on trial for being different – an outsider.

Review

Going into this one knowing it is a modern classic and philosophy focused, I was nervous to say the least! I was certain this was going to be too intellectual for me and I wasn’t going to understand it. However, I ended up really loving this one and devoured it all in one sitting.⁠

Despite being written by a French Algerian philosopher in the 40’s, this is surprisingly easy to read. The writing style is simple and flows well.⁠

I was really interested in the story of Mersault and his complete indifference to the world, love, life and death. In some aspects I felt Mersault was strangely relatable, despite myself being very driven by emotions. He doesn’t conform to societies standards of thinking and being and I liked how his indifference to big things (love and death etc) meant he spent a lot of his time focusing on the little things.⁠

To begin with I was not entirely sure what the message of this book was, but after reading a little about Camus’ philosophy of absurdism, it became clearer to see. Mersault’s life is without meaning or rationality. He is living in complete contentedness because he is not trying to find meaning in every little thing he or others do. His trial at the end of the novel represents the human plight to impose rationality on the irrational. The whole idea of absurdism is tricky to get your head around, but I like it, and I’m happy this book lead me on a journey of learning.⁠

Overall a really enjoyable reading experience for me and I’m definitely going to read Camus’ other works.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Book Details:

Pages: 119
Edition Published:
2010
Genre: Classics, Fiction, Philosophy
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.99

5 Replies to “Book review: The Outsider by Albert Camus”

  1. It warms my heart to see some classic philosophy being reviewed in the blogosphere! I adore Camus and am glad you enjoyed the book. I’d recommend giving Milan Kundera a go as he does a good job of using novelization / anecdotes with characters to discuss philosophical concepts, and I think it’s equally accessible. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So glad you enjoyed it. The Outsider was my introduction to Camus (over 10 years ago now!)

    The Plague is my favourite novel of his, and well worth a read. I suspect nobody will be able to read it in the same way post-covid, however. Fascinating how real world events can change how you interpret and interact with a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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