This year my reading challenge of 33 books should contain a handful of literary classics. I found The Stranger by nobel prize winner Albert Camus in the form of a forty year old yellowed and worn pocket at a market stall somewhere in Manila. Another reason to read this book was to understand the mysterious pop song ‘Killing an Arab’ by The Cure, which is based on this novel.
The stranger is indeed strange. After the funeral of his mother the French office clerk (its early 40’s, and Algeria still a colony of French) travels back to Algiers. Although het gets there all opportunities in life (a job offer in Paris, a marriage proposal of his girl friend) he maintains his sober daily life feeling more and more helpless.
Although he rarely talks, he makes some friends and spent a weekend at the beach, where he after an argument with two Arabs returns and shoot one of them dead without any reason, other then being overwhelmed by the heat, the sun and the sea.
The Cure with young frontman Robert Smith
Standing on the beach with a gun in my hand / Staring at the sky, staring at the sand / Staring down the barrel at the Arab on the ground / See his open mouth but I hear no sound / I’m alive / I’m dead / I’m the stranger / Killing an Arab