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?