First published in 1946, The Stranger was Camus' first novel. The version that I purchased is a direct translation from its French origin. At times the language was a little rough, however, this fact also added to the books authenticity. The somewhat broken English, creates a sense that the main character, who is French, is actually telling the story. I found myself reading out loud at times, in my best French accent.
The novel is divided into two parts. The first part takes you through the events of two weeks in the life of Meursault, the story's main character and narrator, which lead up to a murder. The second part looks back upon those events in a courtroom, which judges not only Meursault's crime, but also his life.
A shipping clerk by trade, Meursault is a simple man. He lives life by his own values, and thinks little about events or consequences. He accepts things as are, with no emotion and very little analysis. He is a man of present moments who only considers briefly, the immediate future, and if it will bring pleasure, thus making him incapable of regret. Though Meursault is not emotional, he is very much in tune with his senses. He describes and gets joy out of things that he can see, touch, smell, and feel. Meursault appreciates things he can sense, and ignores all that he can't. It is only natural that Meursault refuses to believe in God. Meursault has lived a very uneventful life thus far and is content with just existing. .
The story begins with the death of the main characters' mother. The first line of the book is both important and powerful, for it expresses the death in a way that suggests Meursault's outlook on life. It is important to note that Meursault and his mother did get along, despite his nonchalant attitude toward her death, as he accepts the fact that his own existence, as well as everyone else's, will eventually end. Meursault narrates, "Mother died today.