A book that would probably leave a gash inside someone in every age. Albert Camus’ Stranger. I had already talked about the Plague in my previous blog and I will talk about Caligola, a theatrical work to which Camus freely gave the rights of a young man never seen Carmelo Bene, favoring his ascent, when in 1959 we had not suspended performances in Italy.
A book that has fostered many reflections, many implicit in Camus’ well thought out story, other explicit, but expressed in no more than one line by Camus which in the Stranger is synthetic and goes straight to the point.
By now even memes say that a man (the stranger) decides one day to solve the troubles of life to kill an Arab. There is little to laugh at, in my opinion: meanwhile we see some coordinates: The Stranger is written in 43 so during the Second World War, racism had tragically crashed on the Jews, Semitic as the Arabs, and surely Camus reacted in this way. Here the book: https://amzn.to/38YETWL
It is in fact a simple man, a French foreigner in Algiers (he was Algiers however French at the time and it was the city where Camus was born) who informs us personally, telegraphically, of the death of his mother. He takes a day off from work and heads all the guest where the manager, while knowing what he says (which is insensitive to having left his mother at the hospice) understands it and knows that he didn’t have much money.
The important scene of the procession that man follows to observe the coffin to the village opens: he feels the sensation, which will return several times in the book, of a sort of sartrian nausea owes to the sun on his head and the smell of paint and asphalt hit by the sun.
Man returns to his life. He goes to the beach with the beautiful Marie and the cinema with his colleague Emmanuel. In his apartment building he follows the events of Raymond, who seems like a nice guy, but he beats the prostitutes and our man comes to testify in his favor because he had asked him to. The meaning of his actions does not arise because from his point of view they do not have any. Raymod also tells him to keep an eye on the Arab, the prostitute’s brother.
Then Raymond invites him with Marie to a house by the sea and here asphyxiated by the heat and after a fight with the Arabs in which all men participate except he must go to the women to explain to him that Raymond and the other are at the doctor. Asphyxiated by the screams of women he returns to the beach where the sun cooks him more and more until he finds a source of water, in whose shade the Arab rests. He, who perhaps also wants to approach drinking, shoots him.
The second part is devoted to prison and trial, where the judge basically says that if he entrusted himself to God he would forgive him. But the man who can only tell the truth says that he does not believe because it would be false for him to say that he believes. Here the book: https://amzn.to/38YETWL
This is the plot that already says it all. Man is an undecided, he cannot give value to the things of life, for him death is normal and many things are similar, this leads him to kill for who knows what reason in reality (?) A man who has nothing to do with it nothing described with black eyes and a strange shiny suit, but it frightens him: the symbol of the other, the Arab, the different. As I said the extermination of the Jews, at the time of writing, was upon us.
Orson Welles paid homage to Camus with the best film ever made on Camus’ novel “The Stranger”. Incredibly this original movie currently exists on Netflix.