Monday, May 12, 2008

"The Fall" by Albert Camus

This is one of those books that makes me wonder why I'm trying to hit "classics" that I've never read. I had slogged my way through "The Stranger" by the author a few years ago, so it really should come as no surprise that I didn't enjoy "The Fall" either. Frankly, I found it to be a pretentious piece of crap. Or maybe it's just a pretentious piece of French crap (which would be merde). Either way, I was bored to tears.

Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a lawyer, has decided to "confess" to a fellow bar patron his deep, dark secret. After all Jean-Baptiste is nearly perfect - what could his horrible flaw be? Well, turns out that he's prejudiced; he doesn't really like the people he helps. WOW! That's a horrible secret, isn't it? I couldn't believe it when I read it. Maybe back in the day it was relevant or shocking, but now it just feels silly. Ask anyone who's ever worked in public service and you'll quickly realize that everyone has felt like this at some point. I would dare say it's not just those of us in that line of work, either. You just can't be "on" all the time, and if you are, you're hiding your true feelings. Which it seems Jean-Baptiste has been doing all these years.

This book is thankfully short, but it still took me a while to get through it. There's little action; it's more of a monologue/confession. I think this will be my last attempt to read Camus; either I'm not smart enough to "get" him, or he's just that pretentious.

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