Thumbs up for The Stranger by Albert Camus, translated by Matthew Ward. Literature.
I liked this better than I thought I would; which is to say, I did not hate it. One thing I will say is that I think English speakers have been done an injustice by the title being translated as “The Stranger” rather than “The Estranged.” There are no strangers here; if you know upfront that Camus is painting Meursault as a man estranged from common humanity, the theme instantly makes more sense. The Stranger is a necessity if you are interested in Absurdist philosophy, or if you are currently attending American high school. Or if you were lucky enough to avoid American High School, but still have to talk to people who weren’t.
All day long there was the thought of my appeal. I think I got everything out of it that I could. I would assess my holdings and get the maximum return on my thoughts. I would always begin by assuming the worst: my appeal was denied. “Well, so I’m going to die.” Sooner than other people will, obviously. But everybody knows life isn’t worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn’t much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go on living – and for thousands of years. In fact, nothing could be clearer. Whether it was now or twenty years from now, I would still be the one dying. At that point, what would disturb my train of thought was the terrifying leap I would feel my heart take at the idea of twenty more years of life ahead of me. But I simply had to stifle it by imagining what I’d be thinking in twenty years when it would all come down to the same thing anyway. Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter. Therefore (and the difficult thing was not to lose sight of all the reasoning that went into this “therefore”), I had to accept the rejection of my appeal.
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