O Estrangeiro

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I’ve just finished reading L’Étranger (The Stranger) by Camus. It had been on my to-read list for a long time because it’s a “classic” and I (stupidly) challenged myself to read more classics this year. (I say “stupidly” because it seemed that as soon as I set myself the challenge, I became uninterested).

Well, how depressing.

It’s about a guy who kills a man by accident and gets death penalty. Sure, it’s well written and all. As the reader you get into his head, get as bored as he is about the events that unfold. But really, what was the point of reading such a depressing story ?! Ah, but maybe this novel is about more than just another depressing story, and I simply don’t get the philosophy of the absurd. Whatever.

I’m getting frustrated with the French literature: Madame Bovary is a bored adulterous woman who lets herself die of unhappiness (leaving a heartbroken husband and a motherless child), the Stranger is again bored and, though he seems to think he is happy, ends up… headless. I’m having a hard time reading Le Rouge et le Noir (the Black and the Red) by Stendhal, because it’s yet again another story of a coldhearted young man who starts an affair with a married woman…

The only pleasant surprise so far (in the world of French literature) (that I’ve read recently) (that I can think of) was Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Paradise) by Zola. As a teenager, a friend had loved it and lend it to me… but the descriptions were too long for my taste then. This time around I found myself delighting in such wealth of details in mid-nineteenth century fashion and innovations in the department store. The main character, Denise, is actually virtuously strong and refuses the advances of her rich boss, who is reputed to be a ladies’ man. I know, shocking in a French novel… Maybe I will enjoy reading more of Emile Zola.

16 comentários sobre “O Estrangeiro

  1. Je n’ai jamais lu du Zola et je sais que c’est une erreur. J’aime Diderot et Balzac, Hugo aussi même s’il m’énerve quand il se transforme en encyclopédie. Dans un autre genre, j’adore Alexandre Dumas et son “Comte de Monte Cristo” qui reste mon livre préféré à ce jour et m’a définitivement réconciliée avec ma langue maternelle.

  2. Whatever you do, never, I repeat, never try to read Les châtiments from monsieur Hugo. There is a reason why we exiled the guy.

    I took my graduation exam on this book over ten years ago. Still don’t get it.

  3. Eh, c’est vrai, je ne m’étais jamais rendu compte qu’il y avait tant d’adultères dans la littérature française 😉 Par contre, j’avais bien aimé L’Etranger (et La Peste encore plus, mais heu… c’est encore plus déprimant).
    PS: J’ai laissé tombé l’idée du challenge pour le moment… Ca fait six mois que je traine un livre que je n’arrive pas à finir (dès que je commence à lire, je m’endors). Et ce n’est même pas un classique 😉

  4. Je n’ai jamais réussi à aimer les classiques de la littérature française, à part Le comte de montecristo. Je me souviens avoir détesté L’Etranger (mais je n’ai pas détesté Huis Clos ni La Peste, si je me souviens bien). Par contre, je suis une fan des classiques de la littérature anglaise et américaine 😉

  5. Et bien moi j’aime assez les classiques, Mme Bovary, la Chartreuse de Parme, le Rouge et le Noir…Je les ai tous relus il y a quelques temps. J’aime bien Balzac aussi et Dumas. Même Hugo! les Misérable je l’ai lu une fois, ça a du me prendre 2 mois et je ne crois pas que je recommencerai! En revanche il faut absolument que je relise l’Etranger (sur lequel je suis tombée à l’oral du bac de français mais que je n’ai jamais relu depuis….) et la Peste que ma fille a beaucoup aimé (mais elle l’a lue en espagnol pfff 😉 )

  6. L’Etranger je l’ai lu au collège, j’avais beaucoup aimé, mais quand on est ado on aime bien les trucs sombres…
    La littérature classique française n’est pas forcément sinistre 😉

    J’ai un très bon souvenir de Jacques le fataliste de Diderot, à lire!!

  7. Je n’ai pas totalement abandonné la litturature française, hein, je vais persister ! 😉 Je suis loin d’avoir lu toute l’oeuvre de Dumas par exemple, que j’aime beaucoup, et puis je vais continuer à explorer Zola et tous les tomes des Misérables… (la liste est longue)

  8. My Bachelor’s degree from the states is in English Literature – if you’re looking for something new I might be able to recommend something (although you already appear WELL educated in literature). Have you read One Hundred Years of Solitude? It’s one of only two books I was able to bring to Brazil with me. It was a “must bring” item.

    • Another fellow reader! Yay! 🙂 I am trying to read books in their original language as much as possible. I’ve had a paper copy of One Hundred Years for years now (not 100 yet, haha) in Spanish (it was my mom’s), but I haven’t given it a real chance. Do you have an e-reader? Have you started reading in Portuguese? I haven’t taken the plunge yet…

      • I’ve only JUST discovered this comment! I do have an e-reader, haha. I have a kindle. I’ve also recently discovered audio books, which aren’t as wonderful, but are very convenient while I’m cooking/cleaning/doing 10,000 other things. I have NOT taken the plunge to read in Portuguese. I really need to practice conjugating verbs before I do that. My vocabulary is strong, but in 10 years of learning Portuguese I’ve never *actually* sat down and learned verb conjugations….

        • Hi Jeanie, I’m so happy to finally hear back from you! When I was in Brazil the best way for me to learn a little bit of Portuguese grammar was through the Duolingo website. Sadly, I find that most Brazilian know very little of their own language, so reading literature won’t help you much in your daily life! 😉

Oi! Tudo bom?

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