The Outsider (The Stranger), Albert Camus – Book Review

The Outsider - Albert Camus and Sandra Smith (Translator)

Author: Albert Camus

Translated by Sandra Smith

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics

Published in 2013 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published in 1942)

The Outsider is as straightforward as it could get. It is the story of a man named Muersault, whose will to act is as simple as being guided by one’s first instinct, however departed it may be from the conventions, and of which he willfully takes the responsibility in all its bareness. He does not cry or act sullen at his mother’s funeral, he allows himself to happily start dating a girl a day after the funeral, he befriends a hooligan, he kills a man upon being agitated by the heat and glare of the sun, all because he doesn’t find a reason not to do so, all because that is what he feels like doing then from the objectivity of his mind, and all along, he does not justify himself. His not-so-normal ways and reasons, not in-line with conventions, meet a gloomy fate at the hand of judgmental men of the world, who, rightly so, do not look beyond the conspicuous facts or reasons that his actions announce.

Albert Camus, has aptly personified the philosophy of existentialism in the bareness of the inner instincts that the protagonist identifies with, acts upon and takes responsibility of, though it is incomprehensible and reproachful to many people living with their tender indifferences, which, ironically, the protagonist, in his objectivity, wistfully opens up to or becomes compassionate with. Camus’ candid writing leaves a great impact; the complete clarity-of-thought of his characters prods the readers into deep musing and also, at best, introspection.

To me this books was a revelation to a school of thought that is not just pure and objective, but encompasses a deep understanding that every man is completely responsible (of entire mankind) for their decisions, their will—unveiled, unjustified, unapologetic—purely manifested through their actions; that, action does speak louder, and only we make what we are.

A must read for people looking for a good piece of literature—well-written and deeply conceived. If one is new to the theory of existentialism, then, this might be as revolting, thought-provoking and revolutionary, all at the same time, for you as it was for me.

Happy Reading!

Shivani Ahuja

I Shall Wait No More

I sit and pray

for dawn

of inspiration,

cajole it

to come along

on my journey of action—

it doesn’t,

shows reluctant

to surpass the blocks

the barricades

in my mind

I shall be more conscious

of their

stealthy invasions,

in future,

But for now,

I must move on

without delay—

act,

inspiration

will just have to

find its way

to follow.

~ Shivani Ahuja

HtoH

We’ve been apart for too long, my dear.

And lately, amidst these weird conversations

Between my heart and the horizon

on your side of the world, I wonder—

Why my thoughts

Are so drawn to you,

Even though I have felt sheer pain

From us being so far

From each other,

For which partly I and partly you

Are responsible.

I feel guilty

to be thinking about my petty misery

Amidst your never ending storms,

But Still my pain persists,

And I wonder

If it’s your heart reflecting in mine,

Telling me to reach out to you,

Or it’s just how broken dreams feel.

Either way,

You’ve shut yourself from me

To save yourself or me

from a certain misery,

And here we are

Apart—

Me in the misery of longing,

And you…I can only wonder.

Love

S

Ashivani – 2014 in review…

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Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people. Not bad for starters, I guess.. ;)

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