The Outsider

Mon 22 October 2012 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Meursault is informed about his mother's death and barely displays any grief at her funeral. This is how Albert Camus' "The Outsider" starts off. Inmates at the old age home where his mother breathed her last are shocked at his lack of emotions.

Back in the city, Meursault tries to get back to life but gets embroiled in a quarrel between his neighbour and his mistress' Arab family and this quarrel culminates when he kills one of the Arabs in a freak accident. In the trial that follows, the incidents from his mother's funeral are revisited and he is branded as an unrepentant and cold blooded killer and sentenced to death by the guillotine.

While waiting for his execution, Meursault exposes the hypocrisy of the society and finally comes to accept that it is better to be dead than live in such a world.

I browsed through the Wikipedia page on this book and wasn't surprised to see that it is an exemplary work in existentialism. This is a high quality translated work that finishes almost as soon as you start it (76 pages) and I would highly recommend it.