The outsider. Albert Camus
I found Albert Camus’s ‘The outsider” profoundly disturbing. In just under 115 pages it moves the reader from a funeral through a killing to legal conviction and sentencing with straightforward and gripping prose. The protagonist appears to lack pretention. He lives with an uncomplicated world view, within a world that requires he play a role, demostrates conformity to social complexity.
Recommended for people that find human behaviour fascinating at both human and societal levels.
4 smiles: Ratings explained
‘The Outsider’ appears to be one of those books that teenagers are encouraged to study – there are plenty of reviews online. Somehow my teenage self missed this book, making do with ‘The catcher in the rye’, ‘To kill a mockingbird‘ and slighly later with ‘On the road‘
I found the book disturbing because it was so easy to identify with the protagonist, to be him. To feel his pleasure, pain, passage of time and the way others criticise any lack of socially acceptable expression of strong emotions.
I picked up my copy from Reading town’s Oxfam, this 2nd hand copy came littered with the study notes of someone who read the book in a radically different way from me. I found the notes almost as disturbing as the book itself. The notes accuse the protagonist of being unemotional, unfeeling. Yet I read him as experiencing a wide range of normal feelings described in short sentences, using very physical descriptions.