Fans of Albert Camus are so absurd

Yeah, so call me absurd…

Anyway, as happens with my other such favorite influential authors — Kafka, Vonnegut, Melville, Hemingway, London, Conrad… (I know, I know. This list is very male and very white… I’m working on that. I promise.) — I, like clockwork, begin jonesin’ for a Camus fix at least once a year.

Right now I’m in the midst of satisfying my most recent Camus craving by plowing through several of my perennial favorites of his — The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall.

However, yesterday I began reading for the first time a short story collection of his called Exile and the Kingdom, and I’m saddened and a bit embarrassed to report to you that, after three stories in, I really don’t have a clue what’s going on in any of them. They, after the first read, just don’t make any sense to me. Hopefully they will after subsequent reads.

But I gotta tell ya…

Seeing how I’m no stranger to Camus’ work (see what I did there?), it’s strange to me (oops, did it again…) how different and how so much more abstract these first three stories are than his well-known short story, and one much enjoyed by me, called The Guest*.

Hopefully I’ll have better luck/comprehension with the remaining short stories in the collection; however, if anyone who has read the collection and has better insight into them or can share a link to any insightful criticism of them, I, and my bruised brain and/or ego, will be mucho appreciative.


I wonder how many of you knew already that the classic song “Killing an Arab” by The Cure is an ode to Camus’ “The Stranger.”

And here all along you probably thought it was just an evil racist anti-immigration song that only a true Trumpster/Brexiter could love…

Well, know you know.

*read online

10 thoughts on “Fans of Albert Camus are so absurd”

  1. I only ever read L’Etranger in French, which is to say that I didn’t really understand it. I belatedly wonder if I would have appreciated it more in English, especially given how much I like the The Cure song. Thanks for posting the video; that was the first time I’d seen it.

    I know what you mean about digging someone’s work and then reading something else they did where you just don’t get it. It happens. Maybe on second read, you’ll see what he meant. Maybe not. Sometimes it just doesn’t connect.

    • I wish I were better at learning foreign languages (meaning: less lazy) for there is so much great French literature I would love to go back to and read without the filter of translation. And as for me not getting the stories – I’m sure it’s all me not yet grasping the underlying themes/message and has nothing to do with and lacking by Camus. Thanks, Joy.

      • Mayne, although it could just be the stories. Just because someone wrote amazing works doesn’t mean they didn’t also write some mediocre or confusing ones. I remember having that revelation at an extensive exhibit of Picasso’s “other” paintings: apparently the best way to create masterpieces is to produce in *volume* and hope that at least some of them work.

        I also wish I were better at learning foreign languages, but it has not been enough of a priority for me (yet) to put sufficient time and energy into it. 🙁

        • Was it Gladwell who theorized that 10,000 of practice, no matter the field of study, will make anyone an expert. Seems that old saw of “practice makes perfect” is an old saw for good reasons… 🙂

  2. Isn’t The Guest in Exile and the Kingdom?
    There’s also a fantastic (satire) story about the problems faced by an established artist, and the detrimental affect of fans and socialites on their art. Granted that story is very different from Camus “serious” stuff, but I found it very charming.


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