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Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a soul in turmoil. Over several drunken nights in an Amsterdam bar, he regales a chance acquaintance with his story. From this successful former lawyer and seemingly model citizen a compelling, self-loathing catalogue of guilt, hypocrisy and alienation pours forth. The Fall (1956) is a brilliant portrayal of a man who has glimpsed the hollowness of his existence. But beyond depicting one man’s disillusionment, Camus’s novel exposes the universal human condition and its absurdities – for our innocence that, once lost, can never be recaptured..
The Plague, The Fall, Exile and the Kingdom, and Selected Essays
The Plague–written in 1947 and still profoundly relevant–is a riveting tale of horror, survival, and resilience in the face of a devastating epidemic. The Fall (1956), which takes the form of an astonishing confession by a French lawyer in a seedy Amsterdam bar, is a haunting parable of modern conscience in the face of evil. The six stories of Exile and the Kingdom (1957) represent Camus at the height of his narrative powers, masterfully depicting his characters–from a renegade missionary to an adulterous wife –at decisive moments of revelation. Set beside their fictional counterparts, Camus’s famous essays “The Myth of Sisyphus” and “Reflections on the Guillotine” are all the more powerful and philosophically daring, confirming his towering place in twentieth-century thought.