Albert Camus: The Fall A Review

July 19, 2007

A Review Of



Albert Camus

Review by R.E. Prindle

Table of Contents.

I. Review of The Fall

II. Article and Commentary on Camus’ and Jews

III. Review Of The Outsider

IV.  Comparison of The Fall and A Rebours.  (Projected as of 12/27/11)

V.  Comments

Albert Camus- Prototypical Hipster Pose

This novel goes to show that you can fool all the people all the time.

The cover blurb of my edition has the New York Times yodeling:  ‘An irresistably brilliant examination of the modern conscience.’  which is complete and total nonsense.  This isn’t even the examination of anyone’s conscience.

Camus was a French Jew from Algeria then living in France.  He was not an Algerian Jew as the Jews of Algeria were made French citizens in the revolution of 1830.  This distinction is important.

The Fall Camus is talking about is the post-Enlightenment destruction of the religious basis for considering the Jews as a Chosen People, or rather, The Chosen People.  In Jewish mythology the world is organized God>Jews>the rest of humanity>the animal kingdom.  As Camus was not unintelligent he realized that without God the Jews had no special status.  HIs purpose here is to reestablish a reason for Jewish superiority over the rest of mankind.  Thus he creates Jean-Baptiste Clamence as his spokesman to represent Jewry originating the role of judge-penitent for him and them.

Clamence is not an admirable person.  Never was, never can be.  His extreme arrogance before the Fall is characteristic of the Jewish people.  The Fall was undoubtedly the extermination of Jews during WWII.  While Hitler is given sole credit for the dirty work, in the Jewish mind they were rejected by the whole world.  One should not underestimate the effect on the Jewish mind of the turning back of the St. Louis from Cuba.  These facts were devastating.

Camus’ Clamence thus felt degraded by the Fall from confidence.  He becomes libertine, criminal, degenerate, taking up his abode in the criminal quarter of Amsterdam which he seems to equate with the most criminal place in the world.  He is a penitent.  There in sackcloth and ashes.  It is precisely because he knows extreme degradation, having once been of God’s Chosen People, that he has appointed himself a judge over all the peoples of the world.

He- the Jews- have regained their imagined position of the Chosen People through extreme debasement and degradation.

That is why they have made the Holocaust the central feature of their new identity.  Their God rejected them, once again, allowing the Nazis to destroy them.  Thus the Holocaust replaces God.  If the Holocaust is not sacred to them and honored by the rest of the world, as their God once was, then they not only lose their place as the Chosen People but have no chance of regaining it.

That is the import of Camus’ The Fall.  The book has nothing to do with an examination of the ‘modern conscience’, which is to say my conscience.  I reject Camus.  I reject his book.  I reject his situation.  He and it have nothing in common with me.  His problem is not a universal problem as the NY Times states.  Camus’ book is merely a tedious rendition of someone else’s angst that has nothing to do with me or mine.

End Of Review

The below response to Robert Zaretsky’s article develops the argument of the origin of The Fall.



R.E. Prindle

     Mr. Robert Zaretsky who wrote the above titled article for Tablet Ezine is indeed an example of the absurdity he deplores.  He is atavism personified.  How can anyone in this post-Darwinian age be so simple and naive as to be a believing Jew.  The human intellect has moved well beyond such simplicity.  To be a Jew, a Moslem or even Fundamentalist Christian which is to say a distaff Jew should be a logical impossibility.

     One might claim to be an Israeli, claiming allegiance to Israel, without making oneself look ridiculous but to claim nationality the same as everyone else is to renounce the extraordinaryly specious claim to some sort of special superiority based on an equally specious divine preference is quite akin to insanity in this post-Darwinian scientific world.  The very idea of Yeshivas and Seminaries is repellent to contemporary knowledge.

     Given this willful obtuseness  one is not astonished to realize that ‘Jews’ renounce all involvement as the cause of the disorder, death and destruction  from 1913, when the Jewish millennium was said to begin, to the present.  In the height of arrogance the ‘Jews’ ascribe any resistance to the genocidal war begun by them in 1913 as ‘anti-Semitism.’  In other words one is to accept their dominance without a struggle; to resist is considered perverse.

     Thus, what makes Camus at least an honorary Jew was his deferential embracement of the Jewish cause as his own.  To Bob Zaretsky the actions of God in testing the Jews by an inexplicable defeat can only be compared to the trials of Job.  Having been stripped of his children and property but remaining loyal to his perverse god:

     We think we know how the story of Job ends:  Rewarded by God for his loyalty, Job is paid back with even more children, sheep and property.  But is this the ending?  A number of biblical scholars suggest the Job we hear in the final chapter, the one who accepts and resigns himself to God’s power play, is not the same Job we hear in the preceding 40 chapters.  Instead, he is a throwback to an earlier story that was grafted onto the otherwise perplexing account.  Instead the real Job is Camus’ Job.  He is a Job who answers God’s deafening and dismal effort at self-justification with scornful silence.

      Thus, Bob, and one suspects all Jews refuse to take responsibility for their actions perceiving Camus here as some sort of intermediary.  Bob, has a distorted notion of the relationship between his Jews and Europeans.  He says:

     In republican France Jewishness was largely a private matter:  it was only when Nazi Germany buried the Republic in 1940 that Jewishness became a public matter and indifference to the fate of the Jews was no longer possible- or should not have been possible.

     Bob completely overlooks the Dreyfus Affair of the 1890s that underlined the basic conflict between the French and Jews.  Nor did the opposition cease with the unjust reversal of Dreyfus’ conviction but simmered along through the Popular Front and Blum years until the Nazi reaction.  French dissatisfaction with the Jewish situation was always prominent, especially after the Eastern Jews stampeded the border during the late thirties and early forties creating havoc and destroying the French quality of life:

        Yet when the authoritarian regime of Vichy passed a salvo of anti-Semitic laws in 1940, most Frenchmen and -women did not blink.  One of the few who did blink- in fact doubled over in shock and revulsion- was Camus.  Working for the newspaper Paris-Soir, Camus was stunned when his Jewish colleagues were fired.  In a letter to his wife Francine Faure- a native or Oran, Algeria, who was very close to the Jewish community-  Camus said that he could not continue to work at the paper; any job at all in Algeria, even one on a farm, would be preferable.  As for the new  regime, he was merciless:  “Cowardice and senility is all they have to offer.  Pro-German policies, a constitution in the style of totalitarian regimes, a great fear of a revolution that will not come: all of this to truckle up to an enemy who has already pulverized us and to salvage privileges which are not threatened.”

     Camus was less than prescient about the revolution and totalitarian regimes as both are succeeding now worldwide.  The question is who did Camus mean was pulverized- the Jews or the French?  Camus according to Bob is plainly casting his lot with the Jews although conveniently excaping to Algeria beyond the Nazi reach.  This then is the background of The Fall that gives Clamence his depression.  God’s trial of Job was too severe in this instance for continued belief so that rather than complain Clamence/Camus turns his back on God in a disdainful ‘silence’ while pouting and drinking his life away.

     Camus is a Jew, fully so in sentiment and the Fall is in reaction to the holocaust.

     End of supplement.


A Review

The Outsider (L’Etranger)


Albert Camus

Review by R.E. Prindle

Edition: Folio Society 2011

Comes now the time to review Camus’ The Stranger, Outsider or Misfit.  A commenter or two have suggested I read The Outsider and I have.  The only thing I can compare it and Camus to is the Grateful Dead.  It is said that the Dead are an acquired taste.  Over the years I have listened to the Dead for many hours in the attempt not so much to acquire the taste as to understand it.  I know that Deadheads think that Jerry Garcia, of blessed memory, was a great guitarist but I can’t penetrate his style.  In fact I find the Dead so distasteful I’ve given up on them.

I put Camus in the same category as the Dead; he must be an acquired taste except for those of a similar mind.  Actually, I recently read the Myth of Sisyphus on line while I read The Plague several years ago.  Zero sympathy.

The Outsider strikes me as a high school novelist trying to be heavy.  Camus was twenty five in 1938 when he conceived the idea of  his little trilogy, that included this book.  The novel must have been written in ‘40-’41 as it was published in ‘42 during the war.  I suppose most of us experienced the confusion of life in much the same way at twenty-seven or twenty-eight just before the age of reason bit at thirty.

My edition contains an afterword by Camus dated 8 January 1955 in which he says:

         A long time ago I summed up The Outsider in a sentence which I realize is extremely paradoxical:  ‘In our society (meaning French Algeria I suppose) any man who doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral is liable to be condemned to death.’  I simply meant that the hero of the book is condemned because he doesn’t play the game.  In this sense, he is an outsider to the society in which he lives, wandering on the fringe, on the outskirts of life, solitary and sensual.  And for this reason, some readers have been tempted to regard him as a reject.  But to get a more accurate picture of his character, or rather one that conforms more closely to his author’s intentions, you must ask yourself in what way Meursault doesn’t play the game.  The answer is simple; he refuses to lie.

Camus’ evaluation of his story only proves once again that no author truly understands what he has written.   Not only that but his is such a perverse interpretation as to be incredible.  Meursault neither lies or tells the truth; he is just a passive receptacle of other people’s needs.  Further, the book even if considered a fantasy doesn’t make sense; it doesn’t appear to be founded on human experience.

Obviously the story does not hinge on Meursault’s refusal to lie but simply his treatment of his mother and his refusal to show emotion at her funeral.  That’s it.  The fact that he killed a man in self-defense which is not brought out is merely an excuse for executing him for his perceived coldness toward his mother.

I don’t know the nature of French Algerian jurisprudence of the time but I find it very difficult to believe that judges adjudicating an ostensible murder would conduct the trial on the basis of whether a man cried at his mother’s funeral or not.  Who knows what his actual relationship his mother had with him and so what?

The issue is the killing.  As I read the story Meursault only drew his gun when the Arab flashed his knife.  The glare of the sun on the blade intensified the threat so in self defense Meursault shot him.  There is absolutely no reason that Meursault couldn’t have told the judge ‘the truth’- he drew a knife on me so having a gun I shot him.  Where is the refusal to lie?   The mother combined with the killing doesn’t make sense; there is no connection.  But, maybe that’s what existentialism means, you got me.

The center of the novel which merely demonstrates the extreme passivity of Meursault doesn’t satisfactorily explain the sudden act of volition in shooting the Arab especially as he apparently didn’t construe it as an act of self-defense.

All through the main body he lacks volition just going where the wind blew.  Raymond demands that Meursault be his ‘mate’ to which he complies even though Raymond is the last guy anyone would want to know while to be the mate of someone who mercilessly beats a woman is beyond comprehension.  What is going through Albert Camus’ mind?

Marie, a woman he hardly knows proposes marriage to him so Meursault assents although he tells her he doesn’t love her and she doesn’t care.  For me this nonsense is merely exasperating.  I had no interest in any of the characters; the sequence of events make no sense other than to demonstrate the extreme passivity and lack of volition of Meursault.

The final outburst is in contrast to his passivity:

         …I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world.  And finding it so much like myself, in fact so fraternal, I realized that I’d been happy, and that I was still happy.  For the final consummation and for me to feel less lonely, my last wish was that there should be a crowd of spectators at my execution and that they should greet me with cries of hatred.

Why hatred?  The guy just said he was happy and contented.  Like I say, Camus is an acquired taste.  I have no interest in him  but if you do- Enjoy.

By the way, has anyone read Sartre’s trilogy, The Roads To Freedom?

32 Responses to “Albert Camus: The Fall A Review”

  1. whatever Says:

    a) Camus was not Jewish.
    b) Are you making this up as you go?

  2. reprindle Says:

    You have no name so I can’t take you seriously.

    a. Camus was Jewish.

    b. Are you making this up as you go is not a criticism. Be specific. I can’t respond to a mere insult.

  3. lolubad Says:

    This is one of the worst attempts to understand camus’ works I have read, and no he is not Jewish.

  4. reprindle Says:

    It’s not the worst I’ve read by a long shot lolubad. I wrote it a long time ago and would rewrite it today except for the fact that it is my most popular piece and rolls right along. So, whether it’s good or bad it’s popular.

  5. Pequod Says:

    “I reject Camus. I reject his book. I reject his situation. He and it have nothing in common with me. His problem is not a universal problem as the NY Times states. Camus’ book is merely a tedious rendition of someone else’s angst that has nothing to do with me or mine.”

    A crappy conclusion for a terrible review.


    If only you had understood the book, the review could have been better.

    Honestly, the book has nothing AT ALL to do with Jewish people in particular. More than that, many of your comments on Jewish people are offensive/false.

    Your review is popular in the same way as the fattest girl in school – and no, she does not need to be Jewish.

    Taken from the web:

    “It is essential to note that Camus was raised in the Catholic tradition, however widely he distanced himself from it in later life; he was not Jewish as some have thought, perhaps confusing Camus with Elie Wiesel.

    In all his work, Camus deals with the dilemma posed by the injustices suffered by all humanity. Believing himself faced with the choice between an all-powerful God who allows man’s inhumanity to man and a benevolent God who seems powerless to prevent injustice, Camus chose no God at all.” (Sonia Wolfe)

  6. reprindle Says:

    Pequod: Fat girls are some of my best friends and I won’t have them defamed. An apology is in order.

    That you don’t like the review is no problem to me, I didn’t expect it to be liked although it must strike a chord in the The Fall’s readers because the response is terrific.

    The genesis of the review is that I was involved in Arthur Miller studies. Miller was heavily influenced by Camus, who if I remember correctly accepted Camus as a fellow Jew, so I felt obligated to read The Fall. Needless to say I found the book contemptible.

    I bought my copy from Amazon where I ran through the numerous customer reviews. I couldn’t believe we had all been reading the same piece of garbage. What trash. I don’t like Camus anyway although the only other thing I’ve read is The Plague.

    Anyway, I wrote my review to set them straight. The reaction on Amazon was almost electric. I had about fifty responses in short order that were running five to one unhelpful vs. helpful. A review was shortly written that abjured people to not pay attention to my review.

    I knew there was behind the scenes activity and sure enough one day my review disappeared and that without any notice from Amazon. Needless to say Amazon and I are no longer friends. So your side, Pequod, are merely sourpusses who censor whatever critcizes them. I’m sure that you can see that the opinions of such people have no relevance to me.

    Whether my comments concerning the Jewish aspect of the book are offensive, they are not false. They merely contradict your own opionions so you wish them censored. As I say, I would rewrite the review differently today dealing with the content of the book in more detail and more effectively.

    If you wish to make some specific criticisms of the review unrelated to ‘fat girls’ or ad hominem arguments I’d be happy to answer them.

  7. babin Says:

    It doesn’t matter if Camus was a jew- it’s about them (the jews). It’s also about fat girls and whoever else you want it to be about. You won’t agree with me because clearly you believe in some sort of objective reality (even if it is limited to the volume of the book). My personal outlook on the subject allows me to accept your position without agreeing with it, in fact I think that he wrote this book about you.

    It “struck a chord” in the minds of readers because you are giving them insight to which they can understand the book in a context- although what define’s good literature is that it can be interprated in many different ways. (remember being good is different from being liked).

    Hannah Montana is popular.

  8. babin Says:

    haha- sorry about my english- if you care that is

  9. reprindle Says:

    This is an international site, I care nothing about spelling or correct English. It’s what you’ve got to say.

    You’re right. I do believe in objective reality. I don’t know whether I agree with you or not as I can’t find an expressed opinion.

    A missed point in the book and the review is the woman who attempted to drown herself. That was the Anima of Clemence and in allowing her to drown he gave up his Anima and became a sterile Animus. That’s the problem with the Semitic religions, they don’t allow the Anima to exist. Suppressing the Anima is a great mistake as well as a crime against oneself.

    Whether Camus wrote the book about me or not, I certainly reacted intensely when I read it. I reject his stance and find it foreign. If that says something about me then it does.

    If my review made people react within themselves and perhaps view the attitude differently as you suggest then I suppose I have been successful to that extent. Certainly the reaction has been quite violent. I used to have this review on Amazon but readers reacted so violently that they made Amazon remove it. Obviously I challenged certain cherished beliefs about themselves. Why they want to embrace a crappy outlook like Camus’ is beyond me. I can’t stand anything he wrote.

    Thanks for your comment.

  10. babin Says:

    Anima and Animus can only exist in relation to one another just as all other opposites and equals, such as a good and bad outlook on life. Each one is the other meaning Camus starts with bad to find good- the opposite of what I assume you believe. There is equal amounts of good and bad in the world thus it is easy to misunderstand the opposite method. Although no matter the side you start from if there was an absolute truth it would be found either way, no?

    as for a previous comment i think it was unfair to call this a bad review, because if the person thought so the review obviously sparked an intellectual response of some kind, which in the same way as an outlook on life does leads one step closer to an “absoute truth”. In such case, opinions are partial truths and therefore if an absolute truth existed there would be nothing to say about it.

    of course I’m still using negative to highlight itself…

  11. reprindle Says:

    Babin: Hard to tell who I’m talking to, Babin might be French, not American or English since you think your English is off a little. Seems alright though. You seem to speak in a philosophical mode so I assume you read Philosophy. I don’t have any use for philosophy myself. Avoid it whenever I can but you have to deal with a concept from time to time. I prefer the historical and psychological approach. You have two concepts in your reply: …there is equal amounts of good and evil in the world…and…if there was an absolute truth it would be found….

    You may take this as semi- humorous but still serious. In the sixties agitators used the argument that nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. As Jews control the direction of American society we may assume that Jews originated the slogan to change the mores of the majority. Let’s take a little historical journey.

    In 1830 France attacked the Barbary Pirates of Algeria ending Moslem depredations on the European side of the Med, annexing the country at the same time. In Paris at a time of revolutionary unrest a Jew by the name of Adolphe Crecmieux made sure that the Jews of Algeria were made Franch citizens on the date of the annexation. Thus a despised minority in a Moslem land leap-frogged over their previous persecutors giving themselves a dominant position over their former oppressors. At the same time becoming as French as the conquerors.

    France should have expelled the entire Moslem population but instead they attempted to appropriate land while attempting to live in amity with the conquered Moslems. An absolutely inmpossible situation as things proved when France was weakened by two world wars. God only knows what provocations the Jews gave under the protection of their French citizenship.

    The Fall was published in 1956 having a profound effect on the writer Arthur Miller. I didn’t become intellectually involved with either Miller or the Fall for a few decades. As we all know the holocaust occurred during WWII which is the background of The Fall.

    The holocaust had a tremendous effect on the Jews. Self-centeredly while ignoring the tens of millions of others who died and the tremendous suffering by Europeans the Jews concentrated on the few million Jews who died considering this fraction of world wide suffering the greatest crime in the history of the world.

    They wanted everyone to be aware of their suffering that they apparently considered unique. So, in 1958 they pre-empted the same time spot on the same day on all three networks so that anyone in front of a TV had to watch bulldozers pushing small mountains of Jewish bodies around. It was quite a sight. There was no turning it off. The people whose house I watched never turned their set off ever so rather than look at a blank screen we watched the degradation of the Jews.

    Why the Jews thought everyone would react as they did is beyond me. I’m sure there were a fair number who actually enjoyed the show. I was offended at the manner in which my attention was extorted. Bear a slight grudge.

    Next we go to the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley which is where I was at the time. The Free Speech Movement was obviously Jewish although as always to speak the truth was considered anti-Semitic. It was then the cadres were running around spouting ‘nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.’ The contradiction in the slogan is readily apparent but the implication is that the world is neutral having neither good nor bad in it. Good or bad exists only in the mind of the beholder or actor.

    It therefore follows that the holocaust that prompted Camus’ novel by the Jews own admission was neutral becoming good or bad only in the mind of the thinker. Thus Hitler could have done nothing bad as he thought what he was doing was good. The holocaust was only bad in the mind of the Jews because they thought it was bad not because it was inherently bad. It was right because Hitler thought it was right, bad because they thought it was bad. A mere difference of opinion.

    Thinking back to the TV show in 1958 on all three channels the obvious conclusion I came to was that the holocaust was neutral being either good or bad depending on the thinking of the beholder, ergo, no crime had been committed unless you thought it had. But that was relative and not absolute. So the Jews at Berkeley in ’64 who believed the holocaust was absolute evil could not have believed that nothing was good or bad but thinking made it so. Liars and hypocrites.

    So now, decades later after much study and thining, this essay give an idea of my current thinking:
    at the time I read The Fall. So here you have Clamence wallowing in an absurd self-pity claiming he has the sole right to adjudicate as a ‘judge-penitent.’

    What bushwa. What an offence to intellectual decency. He claims the right to absoluteness as a judge and relativity as a penitent.

    You can see my outrage. Why my readers on Amazon were so offended that they compelled the removal of my review is beyond me. Perhaps one of them can explain.

  12. Notgoingtobothertocomebackandreadyoureplies Says:

    Your review simply gave us a summary of the book, and completely disregard any implications that the book might have suggested(maybe you didn’t understand the book at all from what I can tell, try it again?). Needless to say that I think your review is awful, and you claim that it is “popular”? Or should we say, infamous? I’m not going to bother to come back and see what you have to say since a mere college student like me can point out all the grammatical errors that you made in your replies, let’s just say that I’m appalled after reading this “review”, and felt the need to let you know that I simply think that you’re full of shit.

  13. reprindle Says:

    Ya did good, College boy or girl, until you got to your conclusion which is simply crude, although perhaps grammatical.

  14. Lisabeth Says:

    Camus is definitely not Jewish, but he was French and grew up in Algers. You definitely have a chip on your shoulder about Jews and Judaism.

  15. reprindle Says:

    Lisabeth: Having a different opionion based on the facts is not having a chip on the shoulder.

  16. Bon Says:

    You talk an incredible amount of bollocks.

  17. reprindle Says:

    Thank you Bon. If you’ll notice I accused the NYT of exactly the same thing so I take your comment as a compliment since I’m in such good company.

    Personally I found Camus and his Fall an incredible amount of bollocks. I knew before hand what the reaction to my review would be. I knew that I would be touching the nerve endings of the terminally depressed.

    Who can believe such bollocks as the Fall? Think about it.

  18. ES Says:

    Reprindle, it’s hard to say much more than you’re clearly stupid. You clearly don’t understand the points that Camus tries to express, you seem to think that a lot of views = popular, or that even popular = good (neither of which are true). I found this review because of people mocking you. Popular indeed.

    Oh, you’re also clearly an anti-semite, and judging from the bit of your wordpress that I bothered to read a bit of a racist in general.

  19. reprindle Says:

    Oh dear! You poor children are close to tears over something I’ve said. Well, this is one of those time it’s necessary for some tough love from your Uncle Ron.

    You say you mock Uncle; well, if you read the reviews on Amazon you will get some idea of why you have to mock your better. Those reviews reveal an almost perverse affinity to a failed human being- that is, the character of Clamence.

    Camus depicts a demented man in the very throes of the deepest depression. He has immersed himself in the absolute refuse of mankind, the most perverted criminal element of Europe. Furthermore he shines in what is, apparently, his element. Nay, he exceeds them at their own game. He hints that the picture that used to be over the bar has been purloined by himself.

    Sitting in this despicable environment, having passed through the most vile streets of Europe to get there opposite him is, who? Why, yourself. Yes, you. You are there listening to the drivel of a supposed judge penitent. Something of Clamence’s and your invention.

    I don’t know why you can’t see this but having pinned your own personality and character to this despicable representation of humanity you claim to be just like him. Having identified yourselves with him what am I think of you?

    You say you mock me? Poor miserable, misguided children, you mock me?

    Good lord, man, at long last, don’t you have any self-respect? Clamence hasn’t so I’ve answered my own question. Ta, ta, now, nephew.

  20. I talk shit Says:

    It seems as you’ve cornered yourself into this room you call ‘popular’, becoming more demented and reactionary as you answer to each reply paranoiacally obsessed – you’ve also learnt how to use rhetoric. Have to tell you though, like piss which you must drink, it’s become diluted and it clearly, nay overtly shows you can’t answer anything anymore (hence the use of questions). I enjoyed the book, that is that. Objectively, Camus writes well and it is a complex and philosophical piece I really liked. Camus was a moralist and great figure, despite his bookin question. He was a true resistance fighter, writing for a subversive publication during Nazi occupation. In short, you are a baffling buffoon, I say that because you somehow got me to read the bile you call an etch most likely. In fact your general tone distinctly reminds me of ‘Ignatious Reilly’, the protagonist in The Confederacy of Dunces, but with a considerable touch of anti-semetism/homphobia/racism…(maybe you’re one of those pent-up repressed gays?)

    En fin,

    As I’m sure you will, give everyone who’s written on here the disgust and reply like the bitch you are, un-dignifying yourself that much more.

  21. reprindle Says:

    Goddamn, Cool Fool, or whatever moniker you’re writing under, this is by far the best piece I’ve written. I get the most entertaining comments and yours is the most entertaining by far. I love your subtle use of what passses for psychology in your mind.

    Unfortunately I find Camus rather sophomoric unlike yourself who find him complex and philosophical. Was he a resistance fighter? Well, that explains what he did during the war. Everyone has to be someplace doing something, don’t they? With the help of our ‘crusade in Europe’ he was damn successful too.

    I’m not so literate as to have read the Confederacy Of Dunces which from its squibs sounds even more sophomoric than Camus. I’m sure that Ignatious Reilly, a defamation of the Irish for sure, is one hell of a guy.

    I might add, I don’t drink piss; I used to drink swill but since I gave up alcohol I’m down to grapefruit juice. Perhaps it makes me a little too sour, eh?

    I was going to on but I don’t find the rest of your insults that interesting. I find it hard to believe your UK address. Usually the Brits are a little more intellectual and literary but maybe all that Third World immigration has lowered standards a little. ESL, you know.

    Thanks for your comments, it’s always good to know my critics are maintaining the same high standards. Toodle-oo.

  22. pj Says:

    I read The Stranger when very young and hated it, read it a few years later and couldn’t put it down. I had not yet experienced the alienation necessary to understand it. I had hoped Camus was Jewish, because Jewish writers are so overrated I had hoped there was one who lived up to the hype, but am now only curious if reprindle is Jewish playing some elaborate prank.

  23. reprindle Says:

    pj: Thanks for the comment. I haven’t read The Stranger. The only other Camus I’ve read is The Plague which I thought was just as stultifying as The Fall.

    Jewish writers are stultified because their outlook is circumscribed by the ideology much as the Communist is. This limits their abilityto be ‘great’ writers. Unless you share their ideology whatever they say is irrelevant to the broad range of human experience. They are exclusive rather than inclusive.

    I’m not Jewish but have lived in a more or less Jewish milieu during my adulthood. I don’t understand what you mean by ‘prank.’

  24. danna - UK. Says:

    I think the author is right.

    There is more to this book, obviously, but I think this review has it spot on.

    I just read the book and enjoyed it, but thinking about it it makes sense.

    Well done.

  25. jon Says:


    camus came from a jewish background but his parents were christian. if he rejected all notion of God he rejected Judaism too. he rejected it all; alot of his works focus on his french side (as seen in other works) rather than his genes. It’s an interesting review and your view is a fresh take on the book, however I don’t think the Holocaust and the Fall are linked. You could turn many books into metaphors for the Holocaust, right?

  26. reprindle Says:

    jon: Judaism appears to be more of an identity than anything else. There is a definite mystique to it that goes beyond rationality. Freud, who billed himself as an athiest of the first order, nevertheless embraced his Jewish ‘genes’ placing them above all other considerations. So, no matter what Camus may have rejected he wouldn’t have shed any Jewish sympathies. That his parents were conversos is meaningless, so were Marx’.

    There are some interesting points I didn’t touch on such as the woman’s suicide which Clamence ignored and walked on. In the psychological sense this was the abandonment of his Anima or ‘feminine side’ in today’s parlance. In religious terms it expresses the extreme patriarchalism of Semitic religions especially Judaism and Moslemism. Catholicism which has a close affinity with the Matriarchal or Anima through the worship of Mary redeems itself somewhat.

    Thus Clamence’s abandonment of his Anima made it possible for him to wallow in the pits of criminal degradation; that after being a lawyer, although that may be the same thing.

    An interesting bit of symbolism is the picture in the bar that the criminals reverenced- the only thing they cared about- that Clamence himself stole as he proudly announces to the reader.

    The book was written after the War and holocaust so it pertains to the period from say, 1935-45. A key point would be what did the picture represent? What sort of hope? Perhaps a picture of Jesus on the cross? Actually the criminal version is of the crucifiction with the right and left crosses occupied but the center cross empty.
    But, one can’t know.

    The Fall itself, in my estimation, refers to a fall from grace because of the horrid atrocities of the War, specifically the holocaust which was unbelievable at the time. Even today fresh atrocities are being dredged up of which we have been unaware that we saints of the West including Jews committed. So, there are depths that can be explored.

    My real point was that contra the New York Times blurb on my copy the despair of Camus does not represent the souls of us all. Clamence is a disgusting person both before and after the war, vegetating in his nihilism rather than working to clean up the mess. Alright he’s in a deep depression but I have no inclination to join him. He does not represent my soul. He sits and drinks all day in a criminal bar in abandonment of hope. Futile. Why not go throw himself off the same bridge his Anima did?

    I can’t accept Camus as the role model for large numbers of people in which he has apparently succeeded. Not only could you turn many books into metaphors for the holocaust but many are.

  27. reprindle Says:

    danna: It appears you understood my review. Thanks for the encouragement…and, keep a stiff upper lip.

  28. Daniel Says:

    The book has nothing to do with Jewish people and Chosen People. It’s got to do with judgement and redemption. Camus uses Clamence to hold a mirror up to us and probe us to question out own guilt and judgement. In a nutshell. If you’re going to make claims, especially ridiculous and outlandish claims like that pile of jargon above, you have to be able to support your claims with the text and evidence. Since you have failed to do so, how can you expect anyone to take anything that you say seriously? It seems to me that you’re too lazy and ignorant to be bothered to even make sense of the book.

  29. reprindle Says:

    Daniel: “Camus uses Clamence to hold a mirror up to us…’ Talk about jargon, Daniel. I suppose by ‘us’ you mean you, I and the multitude. If so I recognize your reflection as you do too but I don’t see myself. Your argument is exactly the same as the inane blurb on the cover of the NYTimes to which I was objecting in the first place.

    Camus, as I read the book, would be entirely fatuous to imagine that I, at least, would be sympathetic to a broken, drunken bum who steals the treasured picture of his fellow criminal barflys. If you see your reflection in the mirror, that’s great, but I do not see mine. I am totally offended be even the hint of a suggestion.

    If you can’t understand my arguments that only displays your own shallow understanding and not mine. Judgment and redemption for what? Guilt for what? I don’t recall Camus giving any concrete examples of ‘my’ guilt or need for redemption therefrom. I had nothing to do with the so-called the holocaust while I consider it a mere incident in a long historical line of atrocities by everyone.

    Instead of just railing at me because I challenge your own cherished understanding of the book why don’t you explain the picture of yourself that you see in Camus’ magic mirror. Skip the generalities. How can I take your objections seriously when they are not considered criticisms?

    As they used to say in the ‘hood: Get straight.

  30. Dave Says:

    Your review reflects the paranoia and self importance of the jewish people as a whole. Philosophy can’t be understood by anyone, it requires depth of thought and abstract thinking. Clearly you lack both. You saw some quotes about Jesus and concentration camps and automatically thought it was about the Jewish people? lol Wow. Wouldbe scholars don’t make philosophers that’s for sure

  31. reprindle Says:

    Dear Dave: If you’re calling Camus a philosopher then I would have to disagree with you. This story is little more than self-indulgence while my objection is the characterization given it by the NYTimes. Very overblown.

    When I read the story several years ago now I thought it sounded familiar. The story appears to based on Au Rebours by Huysmans. It is my intent to combine a review comparing the two stories although it may take a little time to do it. But if you do read Huysmans you will be able to see the similarity immediately.

    But, as far as philosophy goes this thing just meanders.

  32. Monica Says:

    I do consider all of the concepts you have introduced to your post.
    They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for newbies. May you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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