The Outsider by Albert Camus

The Outside by Albert Camus

“If you can’t handle heat, don’t go to the beach”

The story is about a man who kills an Arab in French Algiers during a conflict with a friend. He is tried and sentenced to death. The story is divided into two parts, presenting the main character’s first-person narrative view before and after the murder.

This was a Christmas gift, so although I don’t like first person novels, I powered through this 116 page classic in a day or two. Overall, it was interesting, but I wouldn’t read it again. At one point in the story, I wondered if the main character was mentally handicapped or a psychopath, someone born without empathy towards people or animals. In the end, I just realized he was pragmatic, and that instead of feeling guilty for the murder, I can understand why he states he simply feels annoyed by the legal proceedings.

The book had some good lines mixed in with the plain descriptions of his surroundings. One quote that stuck out to me was, “According to the priest, human justice was nothing and divine justice was everything. I pointed out that it was the former which had condemned me.”

I also don’t know if I agree with the quote on the cover, because I’m not sure how much this book marked my life, and certainly not ‘indelibly’.