5. ‘The Fall’ by Albert Camus

The Book:

“May I, Monsieur, offer my services without running the risk of intruding?”

From the opening line, Camus implicates the reader as a character in ‘The Fall’ – which is more of an extended character monologue than a story. Jean-Baptiste Clamence describes in detail his own personal fall, from absolute self-assuredness to the devastating discovery of his own hypocrisy.

It is brutally honest and well-written. The dismal outlook reminded me, at times, of Fernando Pessoa, but it was more deliberate, condensed and therefore readable. Clamence shies away from nothing and, as the story goes on, his attitude goes full circle. His realisation that he is a hypocrite does not redeem him, but takes him back to his desire for superiority. Except he’s not alone – the reader has become entangled with him.

The ending achieved exactly what it was meant to. I felt duped and a little bit hacked off with Clamence. Of course, that’s exactly how I was meant to feel. It is an excellent book, but you probably won’t be very pleased with Clamence or yourself at the end.

Perhaps the best remedy is to give it to a lawyer to read.

“Today we are always as ready to judge as we are to fornicate.”

The Background:

This is another auction bargain. I had never read anything by Camus before, but vaguely recognised the name. So, when I sorted through the books I’d bought, this one went on my shelves, while books like ‘The Autobiography of Osbert Sitwell’ went to the charity shop.

If you enjoyed my review, why not buy the book and let me know what you think?

4 Comments on “5. ‘The Fall’ by Albert Camus

  1. I read The Plague when I was 18 and in my first year at university. My room mate asked me “Do you think it works on the level of allegory for the German occupation of France?” “What?” I said. To me it had been about an outbreak of the plague in a town in French North Africa. It had never occurred to me to read the blurb where it explained everything.

  2. Wow, diving into Camus with ‘The Fall’ is a big leap – well done for making it through the book! I’ve only just read it, but I think I’d have been overwhelmed by it had I not read any Camus before. Without doubt, his writing is often enjoyed most after filling in some of the gaps, as CFisher suggests. Hope you go on to read more from Camus :)

    My latest post: Review: The Fall by Albert Camus

    • It’s been a couple of years and I still haven’t managed to make it back to Camus, but I definitely hope to in future.

      Also, I’ve just read your fantastic review: much more in-depth than mine!

      • I’d definitely recommend him, and there’s plenty to choose from. His essays are great too, especially for a quick-read.

        Thanks – I ended up thinking about the book for quite a while so my review ended up being pretty rambly :)

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