Earlier this year, I decided to go on a little weekend away to Paris. I had never been and I thought it was about time I ventured to the City of Love. Of all the recommendations I received about how to pack my days my true friends knew that the place I was going to spend an inordinate amount of time is the lovely bookshop known as Shakespeare and Company located on Paris’ Left Bank.
I ventured in and asked for a book that reflected the best of French literature…The Outsider by Albert Camus (sometimes called L’Étranger or The Stranger depending on which edition you have) was what I was given. €13 and a stamp of the Bard himself later I promptly sat myself down on the banks of the Seine and started this wonderful book.
“My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know” is how we are introduced to the novel, and the indifferent, calm and collected narrator and protagonist: Meursault who later commits a somewhat random murder (it is no secret!). The narration is chronological taking us through Meursault’s attendance at his mother’s funeral to the murder he later commits.
Whilst the book is only 111 pages long it is extremely powerful (just like The Vegetarian by Han Kang). It is quiet. It is Subtle. Always bubbling but never explodes. Just like Camus’ protagonist. Absolute perfection.
One of the best classics I have ever read.
Recommended for: fans of French literature
Rating: 5/5 (I wish it was longer!)
Favourite quote: The first line always gets me (see above).
Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!