Algerian Writer Kamel Daoud Stands Camus’ ‘The Stranger’ On Its Head

Critic at-large John Powers writes: 

“You may recall that The Stranger is narrated by a French Algerian named Meursault, who begins the book by half-heartedly attending his mother’s funeral. Not long after, he goes to the beach, and for reasons even he can’t explain, winds up shooting a young man he calls the “Arab.” Meursault is convicted of murder. Not for shooting an innocent Arab, mind you — the French routinely got away with that in their colonies — but because the D.A. basically prosecutes him for not properly loving or mourning his mother.

Meursault’s motiveless crime and the irrational reasons for his conviction made Camus’ novel a classic expression of Existentialist notions about the individual’s confrontation with an absurd universe.

Daoud’s book stands Camus on his head. It’s narrated by Harun, the brother of Meursault’s victim, who was seven when his older brother was shot down. Now an old man in present-day Algeria, Harun offers a version of events that anchors this murder in history, not cosmic philosophy. It becomes a form of restitution.”

Part of my book haul from yesterday’s library book sale. Yes, most of these will become giveaways. :) 

Of these, I’ve read The God of Small Things, The Stranger, The Color Purple, Beloved, and The Master and Margarita. I recommend all of them, but I loved The God of Small Things and Beloved best. Have you read any of these? 

 The Stranger

The Stranger is one of the seven aspects of a single deity. He represents death and the unknown and leads the dead to the underworld. Whilst the Stranger is usually referred and described as male, he is neither male or female. His face is always cloaked and hidden and many believe it is due to him having animalistic features.

Despite, the other aspects of the Seven all being revered and popular, he rarely attracts favour. Most worshippers of the Faith shun him but he has been known to attract the attention of outcasts, some even seeing the Stranger as a kindred spirit. 

Due to his association with death, he has been included in a public shrine of gods and idols of the dead, in the House of Black and White.