Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The Plague, by Albert Camus

The Stranger, the The Fall and now - The Plague. This particular part of my journey through Camus' works has been proclaimed as his most successful and accessible novel. From the liner notes and introduction, it seemed it would be impossible not to treat this "fable" as an "allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation".

In fact, it's not that hard at all to read this outside of the context in which it was penned. Whether you give thought to metaphor or not, this is still a story of the human condition. A story of the ignorance and denial which can allow tragedy to take hold, the varied reactions to said tragedy and the solidarity that people find in the struggle against it.

I feel that you could learn a great deal about people, their motivations and behavior, if you studied a book like this carefully enough. I'm not going to claim that I've done that. Something that struck me quite deeply toward the end was Camus' description of happiness returning at full speed after such a long exile:

"Rambert realised that everything would be given back to him in a single moment and that joy is a searing emotion that cannot be savoured."

I've never lived through anything like The Plague that besets the town of Oran, but this description of happiness struck me as a great truth.

Anyway, enough ranting.. It's time for me to read something fun and light-hearted.

No comments: