Literature

Book review: Meursault Investigation

Albert Camus about his book:
I summarized The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.

L’Étranger or The Stranger is a 1942 novel by Algerian-French author Albert Camus whom I have already mentioned on my blog >> An algerian bookshelf: Albert Camus. Briefly, he’s famous for his absurd philosophical literature that deals with the existence of the man as individual such as Meursault in The Stranger.
Camus gives a first-person view of the sensless life of Mersault who begins the story with ignoring the funeral of his mother, centers it with killing randomly an Arab, then ends it by dying for the reason of being senseless with his mother and with life in general. It’s shocking, but it sounds simple at the same time, doesn’t it?

Is the story ended with the death of Meursault?

Kamel Daoud says no…
The Algerian writer proposed another philosophical side to the story by the 2013 novel of “Meursault, contre-enquête” or “Meursault Investigation” in which he represents himself as the brother of the nameless Arab whom got killed in Camus’ novel. Meursault didn’t killed only “an Arab”, related to Daoud’s novel, but he killed Musa, the brother of Harun who is the protagonist of the Meursault Investigation and the victim of The Stranger.

4445301_6_9b0c_ill-4445301-82b2-capture-d-e-cran-2014-06-25-a-1_c079aa09fc43d297358adf9a2f78c03fIn cause of the meaningless murder” – as Meursault named it, Harun got left alone only with his mother and with the void of his brother who died without name and without cause in a context of French colonisation that oppressed the rights of the native inhabitants of Algeria. When Harun has grown up, his only objective in life was haunted by the unsolved case of his brother as well as his mother got driven crazy by it. He became an Algerian Francophone writer to read and reply for the outrage caused by Camus’ careless character.
Personally, I have read the story in French that I found well-written and original with its philosophical style. I was fasctinated with the language… However, about the content… the novel highlights on the two-faced Algeria of the 60s in terms of religion and society: You find Arabs having Islamic principles that are contrasted to their colonized life, following the French life-style of “alcohol” and “prostitutes”.
I think, this naughty side of Algeria is implied in The Stranger by the name of French Algeria that is over Hamdullah. Then, I felt it a little bit heavy – reading about the bad side of Algeria AGAIN in DETAILS… I count it as a negative point in the novel; nevetheless, the Meursault Investigation is a very grateful writing and I can recommend to everybody who has fallen love into Albert Camus’ novel and wants to see another perspective of the story.
Meursault, contre-enquête won the 2015 Goncourt first novel prize, the 2014 Prix François-Mauriac and the 2014 Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie.
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