Camus’ ‘L’Etranger’ : a new angle

In the past year, Kamel Daoud won the Prix Goncourt for a work called The Meursault Investigation. In this work the Algerian novelist and journalist, offers what the New Yorker calls ‘A tour de force reimagining of Camus’s The Stranger, from the point of view of the mute [in the novel] Arab victims.’

In the tradition of post-colonial ‘talking back,’ Daoud offers a 143 page account of Meursault’s shooting of ‘the Arab’ from the point of view of the brother of the dead man.

Whether or not you may want to include the work in the readings by your students, you might certainly find using excerpts from the work a counterpoint to the study of the novel of Camus.

I include one from the opening page below.  You may also find the recent controversy over Daoud’s writing about events in the city of Cologne interesting as well.  I offer a link below if that interests you.  After reading his work, one should perhaps not regret profoundly that Daoud has decided to devote himself no longer to journalism, but to fiction.

Passage from the opening of The Meursault Investigation (translated by John Cullen):

‘I’ll tell you this up front:  The other dead man, the murder victim, was my brother.  There’s nothing left of him.  There’s only me, left to speak in his place, sitting in this bar, waiting for condolences no one’s ever going to offer.   Laugh if you want, but this is more or less my mission: I peddle offstage silence, trying to sell my story while the theater empties out. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason why I’ve learned to speak this language, and to write it, too: so I can speak in the place of a dead man, so I can finish his sentences for him.’  (p.1)

For more about Daoud that you as a teacher may find interesting:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35653496

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/this-week-in-fiction-kamel-daoud

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