Albert Camus was a French-Algerian journalist, playwright, novelist, philosophical essayist, and Nobel laureate. He was born November 1913 and died in January 1960.
His first influential novel, The Stranger, was released at the same time that the Cultural Relations Section of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent him on a trip to represent the French Government in the United States.
Camus' arrival in the United States had been anticipated by a full-page article in the New York Herald Tribune Weekly-Book Review. His book "The Stranger" was already in print in France under the name L'Etranger.
The book, "Albert Camus in New York" is like a chapter from Herbert Lottman's 848 page biography of Camus.
In the lectures he gave on his trip he was often asked about his philosophical point of view, which he labeled as "Absurd-ism". Sartre, an existentialist, had reviewed The Stranger and he was often confused with Camus by Americans.
Wherever Camus went he was asked if he was an existentialist. He didn't seem to like being asked and he always said no.
The meaning of existentialism suggests that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life. Moral values are abstractly contrived and do not exist otherwise.
Camus's Absurdism" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. In this context absurdism does not mean "logically impossible", but rather "humanly impossible".
This small books gives some insight into where Camus was coming from overall.
The Stranger by Albert Camus is reviewed on this site. See November 5th 2017 post below
Albert Camus was a French intellectual and influential philosopher who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.
Kerry Fisher (above on the right) wrote a letter to this books reader, and it is located at the end of this novel. It tells us why she decided to write this story. She said, in searching opinion pieces and internet forums discussing what women were talking about, that the discussions came back, over and over, to the intricacies of family dynamics.
The story centers on two brothers who live next door to each other, across the street from their mother, Anna. Anna is the matriarch of the Farinelli extended Italian family. Lara is married to Massimo Farinelli and they have a son Sandro. Massimo is the older brother and has been married before. Their life looks perfect on the surface. Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico. Maggie is the stepmother to their daughter, Francesea.
The book was originally titled “The Secrets of the Second Wives”. There is plenty of material here to discuss family dynamics, and indeed that is what the book does.
In Kerry’s letter she mentioned that she knew conflict was the “heart of a good novel”. The subject of “The Silent Wife” was indeed one of conflict.
The book has received good reviews and I thought it was well written. I found my own interest drifted as the story seemed to move slow. I wish I had read the letter from the author at the end first.
About the Author Kerry Fisher
Kerry Fisher was born in Peterborough, UK. She studied French and Italian at Bath University, and then worked for several years as an English teacher in Corsica and in Spain. Her Website is:
Pictures of Fredrik Backman & Ove's Auto preferance the Saab
Ove’s story is heartbreaking, and it is very funny. It is filled with diverse characters, including the cat. Ove is Swedish and the story takes place in Sweden. It is a book you will not want to put down and one that will make you laugh out loud.
Both growing up as a child, and then later as an adult, Ove is described as a curmudgeon. He has strict principles, fixed routines and the image of a crusty old man who is ill-tempered, but this image is only true at first glance.
With a closer look you find that he has a heart of gold. Much of what is good in Ove was brought out by his wife, Sonji, who comes into his life and balances his pessimism with her optimism and warmth. She is really the opposite of Ove in most every way, but she is as dedicated to Ove as he is to her.
Driving a Saab is a litmus test for Ove and if you do drive one your more than ok. If you drive a Volvo, BMW or foreign car, it can be a reason for not speaking.
Ove’s wife dies, and it is heartbreaking. It takes a lot of time but it is a woman who again turns him around, for a second time. Parvaneh moves, with her husband and children, next door. His relationship with their children is very touching.
The book is an exploration of how one life impacts so many others and is well worth reading.
About the Author
Fredrik Backman grew up in Sweden. He has been writing for Helsingborgs Dagblad and Moore Magazine in Sweden. His first book was "A Man Called Ove" and was published in 2012. It was adapted into a film which came out in December 2015.
Lydia Smith really loves her job at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver. She grew up in a library-based- home in this town about 20 years ago.
She had only two friends. Raj was a boy her age and Carol was her other friend. At a sleep over at Carol’s house, Carol and her parents were brutally murdered by the Hammerman. Lydia hid but it seemed like she was spared? The mystery of who the Hammerman was is still not solved, but things that happen at the bookstore and in Lydia’s life take her back to that mystery.
The bookstore is a second home to many of the area street people and Lydia feels a connection to them. She sees them as dreamers and refers to them as BookFrogs. One of the dreamers, Joey Molina, is a real mystery but it eventually becomes clear that he is part of a bigger picture that includes the mystery of her youth. Joey is in his early twenties. He loves books and he considers Lydia his only friend.
She is disconnected from her father and their relationship is an interesting part of the plot. Her childhood friend Raj comes back into her life and they try hard to understand the events they both shared growing up and what is happening now. They both become obsessed with who Joey really is.
It is a dark story with a twisted plot. The reviews I found on this book offer a lot of details that seem to be spoilers. The twisted plot is a delightful part of this book, so I have been hesitant to mention more of the events here. The book will pull you in and you will not want to put it down