Jun 27, 2010

The Plague

by Albert Camus

I thought it would be interesting to read another account on similar subject, after The Dancing Plague. This novel tells about a French town in Northern Africa that suffers a plague outbreak in the 1940's. The citizens are not much concerned when they start to see dead rats everywhere, even when the animals come out and start dying by the thousands in the streets they feel horrified and repulsed but not yet fearful for themselves. Then people start to die of suspicious symptoms- high, raving fever, swollen buboes in the armpits and groin. A few isolated cases which quickly escalate until there are hundreds a day. There are long passages about the emotional unrest of people separated from their loved ones when the city gates are locked, of the preacher's sermons harping guilt into the people, of the magistrate's futile efforts to enact laws that halt the spread of disease. The main characters are a doctor, a reporter and a few other French men. But I found I didn't care much about them. And I kept taking breaks from the book to read other novels in the meantime. Each time I had less interest in coming back to this one until I just decided I didn't want to read any more. I wasn't interested in any of the characters and the long passages were so dull. I read a bit about this book on wiki to find out how it ended, and it said there that the novel was in part a metaphor of French resistance to Nazi occupation during WWII. I didn't see any of that in the novel, but then I wasn't looking for it while reading. Made it halfway through. Moving on.

I had The Stranger on my TBR list but after my experience with The Plague I don't feel very interested in reading more Camus.

Abandoned ........ 278 pages, 1947

More opinions:
Tony's Book World
I Wish You'd Have Told Me


  1. Sorry it didn't work for you.

  2. Blech, I can sympathize. We had to read some excerpts from The Stranger in my high school philosophy class, and I was extremely unimpressed. I now can't remember anything about Camus at all, except that I greatly disliked him.

  3. Yeah, when I hear "Camus" I think of stuff I was forced to read in school. You just don't hear many people waxing happily about him, do you? Well he missed the boat on this one. He should have taken lessons from Stephen King.

  4. I read this book for a class in college with a professor I hated, and consequently seemed to hate every book I read. I've been thinking about re-reading them, but perhaps this one deserved my dislike, which is too bad.

  5. I'm actually glad now I didn't have to read him in school!

  6. Anonymous6/28/2010

    I've never read Camus, and I don't think I'll be putting anywhere near the top of my list. I usually don't get metaphors anyway.

  7. Wow, that sounds fairly horrid. I agree with abandoning it. No point in doing that to yourself.

    I liked your review about Zoe's Zodiac too. I missed that one as a child. Must go back and read it :0)

  8. I read 'The Stranger' a while back and thought it very pointless. 'The Plague' is on my tbr and I have 'The First Man' on loan from the library, but I might just forget about Camus after reading your review. I know his books are considered classics but I don't get it. Thanks for your honest review on this. My review of 'The Stranger' is here: http://ordinaryreader.blogspot.com/2010/05/stranger.html
    I like your blog!


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