The Stranger

by Albert Camusstranger

In my tenth grade English class, we spent a whole unit talking about existentialism. At the time we were reading Death of a Salesman. Somewhere I still have all my notes from the unit – which, theoretically, means that somewhere in my brain I also have a great answer to the question: What on earth is existentialism?

The Stranger has been on my reading list since 2005, when the Romgi’s cousin (whom I only met once) told me it was his favorite book. I quite honestly had no idea what it was about or what to expect, so I was a little surprised when I finally sat down with it and found the narration excessively easy to follow and enjoyable to read. After I finished the book I tried describing it to the Romgi, but the whole thing felt more like a weird dream that was so vague it couldn’t be put into words. Weird for a book, right? It is words…

The protagonist is really one of the most existential characters you could imagine. He talks very seldom (or not at all?) about his emotions – rather, his descriptions are of tangible sensations. His existence is entirely physical. By the end I felt like I was suffering in the heat and it was making me confused.

This may be going out on a limb, but I think The Stranger would be a great book club book. I’d love to discuss it with you. Have you read it? If not, will you so we can talk about it?