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The Meursault Investigation – tekijä:…
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The Meursault Investigation (vuoden 2015 painos)

– tekijä: Kamel Daoud (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
7103323,630 (3.55)62
"This response to Camus's The Stranger is at once a love story and a political manifesto about post-colonial Algeria, Islam, and the irrelevance of Arab lives. He was the brother of "the Arab" killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus's classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling's memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name--Musa--and describes the events that led to Musa's casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach. Harun is an old man tormented by frustration. In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die. The Stranger is of course central to Daoud's novel, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Mersault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice."--… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:WilliamReinhart
Teoksen nimi:The Meursault Investigation
Kirjailijat:Kamel Daoud (Tekijä)
Info:Other Press (2015), Edition: 1, 160 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Teoksen tarkat tiedot

The Meursault Investigation (tekijä: Kamel Daoud)

  1. 40
    Sivullinen (tekijä: Albert Camus) (Philosofiction, JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Meursault ist der Protagonist in dem existentialistischen Roman "Der Fremde", auf den sich Daoud in seiner Gegendarstellung bezieht.
  2. 00
    The Sympathizer (tekijä: Viet Thanh Nguyen) (thorold)
    thorold: Literary accounts of wars of decolonisation as seen from the side of the colonised.
  3. 00
    Assommons les pauvres ! (tekijä: Shumona Sinha) (Philosofiction)
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» Katso myös 62 mainintaa

englanti (22)  ranska (8)  hollanti (2)  italia (1)  Kaikki kielet (33)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 33) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Camus' The Stranger never hit me as hard as I felt it was supposed to. As a philosophical delivery vehicle for existentialism/absurdism it might be about as good as you could reasonably expect, but not only do I not find absurdism all that compelling, but the actual narrative of the book was kind of boring, with a strange and almost lizardlike lack of passion on every page. On the other hand, this "counter-inquiry" into the events of The Stranger is far more satisfying. It's told as a conversation between the main character Harun, the brother of the nameless Arab victim, and you the reader over successive rounds at a bar in Oran. He's trying to tell the "other side" of the story, openly acknowledging Camus' fame and influence while working as a corrective to the "excesses of boredom" of the original. It is both a corrective and homage - in almost every way, Daoud is aiming at the same themes while putting his own, often opposed perspective on them, and in many cases offering a take I find more appealing (that he's drunk the whole book makes his passion more relatable as well).

For example, Meursault's sardonic commentaries on religion are commonly cited as among the book's highlights. Here's Harun:

"My neighbor's an invisible man who takes it upon himself, every weekend, to read the Koran at the top of his voice all night long. Nobody dares tell him to stop, because it's God who's making him shout. I myself don't dare, I'm marginal enough in this city as it is. His voice is nasal, plaintive, and obsequious. It sounds as if he's alternating roles, from torturer to victim and back. I always react that way when I hear someone recite the Koran. I get the feeling it's not a book, it's a dispute between a heaven and a creature! As far as I'm concerned, religion is public transportation I never use. This God - I like traveling in his direction, on foot if necessary, but I don't want to take an organized trip."

You won't find a good metaphor like that public transportation one in Meursault's meditations; Harun's are more literary and yet more personable. Similarly, Harun's sad deterioration of his relationship with Meriem is more poignant than Meursault's halfhearted toleration of Marie:

"But she contented herself with loving my disappointment in love, so to speak, and with giving my sorrow the nobility of a precious object, and then, just as a kingdom was beginning to fall into place for me, she went away. Ever since, I've betrayed women methodically and saved the best of myself for the partings. That's the first law inscribed on my tablet of life. Do you want to note down my definition of love? It's pompous but sincere, I concocted it all by myself. Love is kissing someone, sharing their saliva, and going back all the way to the obscure memory of your own birth. I therefore operated as a widower, which adds to one's appeal and attracts the tender feelings of the unwary female."

I like that better than the one big shrug that is Meursault/Marie. And while I hesitate to add to the tediously large pile of academic literature on pre/para/post-colonialism, Harun's perspective on what the French colonization of Algeria "meant" offers more to chew on, even though Daoud doesn't unleash any polemics; far from it. The novel's set in 1962 after the French left Algeria, sending pied-noirs like Camus packing for the metropole. Harun didn't even fight in the war for independence though, to his shame. Meursault's estrangement from the "French people" is a bit different than, say, an Australian's mental distance from the "English people", but it seems like he ultimately doesn't care about the French national identity because he doesn't care about anyone. Harun, on the other hand, isn't a stranger from people across the Mediterranean, he's a stranger to his own people in his own country, which seems more meaningful to me. Not that he's blind to the racism of the French occupation, which he brings up on occasions like when he points out how callous Meursault's attitude to the central murder of The Stranger is:

"Yes, the scene of the crime was in fact a terrible letdown. In my view, my brother Musa's story needs the entire earth! Ever since that day, I've cultivated a wild hypothesis: Musa wasn't killed on that famous Algiers beach! There must be another, hidden place, a setting that was disappeared. That would explain everything, all at once! Why the murderer was so relaxed after being sentenced to death and even after his execution, why my brother was never found, and why the court preferred judging a man who didn't weep over his mother's death to judging a man who killed an Arab."

Or as he also says, "The word Arab appears twenty-five times, but not a single name, not once." There's that post-colonial stuff with a great personal connection, neatly inverted in Harun's own murder of a Frenchman, which ironically "doesn't count" as a signifyer of his loyalty to his people since he did it for seemingly no reason, rather than in the revolutionary fervor of the war for independence. Meursault's absurdism lies in the meaninglessness of his crime, as does Harun's, but Daoud's reveal of what that means about how the individual relates to society's rituals and systems of justice feels more firmly grounded in the real world.

I could go on and on about how Daoud plays with all of the famous bits in the novel, down to the first and last sentences. If you loved the original, this will make you see it in a different light, and even if you didn't like it you might appreciate its legacy more - what could be a greater tribute to its power than this response 72 years later? The Meursault Investigation is the more enjoyable novel, and yet I would wholeheartedly agree that The Stranger deserves its place in history while Daoud's work is doomed to be described as well-executed fan-fiction. Meursault might be an anhedonic mope, but there's something about a character who's so determinedly bland that somehow conveys the spirit of its underlying ideology; Harun doesn't really have a philosophy, he's just a guy at a bar. I don't believe in absurdism, but "at least it's an ethos", right? I prefer the drinker for better stories though. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Both a critique of and an homage to The Stranger, this novelette is told by Harun, the brother of "the Arab" murdered in Camus' tale. Through Harun's grief and survival it examines the aftermath of colonialism in Algiers. While beautifully complex and an elegant response, it drags at times, but those times are worth working through. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Feb 21, 2021 |
I first read the Stranger by Camus in high school. Then again after college, then once more, this time in French. I fell in love with his writing, consuming everything he produced. I read biographies of him. But then, I started to see the disconnect he had between what he wrote and how he viewed his birthplace in Algeria, the French colony where the native population didn’t have the same rights as the French colonizers. It complicated him for me and made me want to explore it more.

Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation, is just what I needed. He offers a take on Camus’s defining novel. It turns the story around, to look at the situation from the perspective of the murdered character’s brother. It’s eye-opening, to say the least. I never really thought about this when I read the Stranger, but the person Meursault murders is only called “The Arab.” He never gets a name or any humanity. Even at Meursault’s trial, the focus is more on the main character’s lack of sympathy regarding his mother’s death than the murder. Daoud’s novel calls that out and tries to re-inscribe the dead man, Musa, into the book of humanity. Through a wonderful re-use of The Stranger’s opening paragraph and the narrative device used in Camus’s later novel, The Fall, Daoud explores the murder of the narrator’s brother and what it does to him, his mother and his country.

The narrator beautiful states one core element of his thesis: “You can’t easily kill a man when he has a given name” (Ch. 5, p. 52). Camus called the murdered man “the Arab” or “an Arab”. But the narrator says “Arab. I never felt Arab, you know. Arab-ness is like Negro-ness, which only exists in the white man’s eyes” (Ch. 6, p. 60). Later, “He was Musa to us, his family, his neighbors, but it was enough for him to venture a few meters into the French part of the city, a single glance from one of them was enough to make him lose everything, starting with his name, which went floating off into some blind spot in the landscape” (Ch. 6, p. 61). From these three quotes, I felt a resonance with what is going on today in Baltimore, Ferguson, Sanford, Charleston and others cities across the US. My jaw just dropped, thinking how this Algerian, writing in French, in 2013, so nailed the events and discourses going on today in America.

The author also deals with religion and atheism throughout the novel. One line that stood out for me was: “How can you believe God has spoken to only one man, and that one man has stopped talking forever?” (Ch. 7, p. 69).

The Arab Spring is also touched upon, I believe. While talking about the newly independent Algeria of 1962, I feel he was also talking about today’s Libya, Tunisia, etc. Rebel groups, some extreme, some poor, some illiterate, came together to overthrow a bad government. But, once it was gone, they didn’t seem to want to go back underground, or dissolve. They like their newfound power and are unwilling to give it up so easily. Something to consider, both for countries that underwent these revolutions and for Western nations, especially the US, which want to dive into yet another war, arming anyone who will overthrow the tyrant du jour. A warning: remember that the US, in its proxy war with the Soviet Union, funded and backed extremist in Afghanistan. That didn’t work out too well in the long term for anyone on our planet.

This is an amazing read and one for people to read for so many reasons. And, if politics, religion, philosophy, etc. aren’t your thing, it’s still a really good story, well-paced, well-written and nicely translated. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
This novel is a response to [author:Albert Camus|957894]'s [book:The Stranger|49552]. While The Stranger is all about the pied-noir (French colonizer; born in Algeria) Meursault and his crime of murdering "the Arab", Daoud has written this book to give that Arab a name and family. The book is narrated by Musa's brother, who was just 7 when he was murdered, and Harun's entire life has been dictated by his brother's murder, his mother's grief, his own confusion.

I was expecting something very different from what I got. While Harun names his brother Musa, we don't learn much more about him. Instead Harun rants--about the police who never found/lost his brother's body, the French, the readers of The Stranger, Algerians who expected him to fight for independence, religion in general, his own crime, the difficulty his mother had raising him alone. Really he shows (and admits) ho disturbingly similar he and Meursault are, right down to not knowing how old their mothers are (which, among other details irrelevant to his crime, got Meursault executed). So the colonizer was executed for his lack of social graces while his victim was ignored and unnamed, while Harun is let go and his French victim is named--there is a lot here to unpack between the results of their crimes, the similarities between the mothers and the sons and their relationships, their inabilities to fit in "properly". Despite all this, the book was still quite dull to read. ( )
  Dreesie | Dec 1, 2020 |
The premise and idea of the book is intriguing, and the writing is elegant and precise. However, the story (or monologue) is just plain boring and without much progress. Read the first 20 pages and you've read the whole book, that's how it felt to me. It could be, though, that I simply don't know my Camus well enough to understand this novel. ( )
1 ääni troelsk | May 8, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 33) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

"This response to Camus's The Stranger is at once a love story and a political manifesto about post-colonial Algeria, Islam, and the irrelevance of Arab lives. He was the brother of "the Arab" killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus's classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling's memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name--Musa--and describes the events that led to Musa's casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach. Harun is an old man tormented by frustration. In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die. The Stranger is of course central to Daoud's novel, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Mersault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice."--

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