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The Fall Paperback – May 7 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is told in the form of a monologue by Clamence, but Camus loads it with plenty of imagery - conveying the atmosphere both of Amsterdam and of Paris. Clamence takes his acquaintance back to the time when he was a successful lawyer, then tells of his growing guilt at his self-indulgent philanthropy. Thereafter, there's a decline into moral impotence and a rejection of social and moral norms as he views his life and actions as essentially meaningless.
Much of this is pretty deep stuff, and I thought that I could give "The Fall" a second and third reading and still get a lot out of it. What was Camus's message in the novel? Well, it might be a savage critique of the veneer of altruism beneath which the wealthy operate - indeed does social snobbery rather than genuine concern truly underpin their acts of charity? Yet I felt that Camus balked at Clamence's nihilism because it was too destructive of the self and of others. Perhaps he thought that greater honesty and realism need to be tempered by/encouraged by greater humanity. Each reader will have their own take. But at least this fine book has value precisely because it provokes such thoughts.
As the title indicates, this books plays off of Christian themes heavily. The very idea of "the fall" is a fundamentally Christian notion of lost innocence (which is very much at the heart of this work); "Jean-Baptiste" - "John [the] Baptist" in English - describes himself as a type of prophet crying in the wilderness but refusing to come forth; the bar he frequents is described as a church (and one could argue that, by extension, his life in the bar is something of a participation in an inverted communion); entire discussions about redemption, forgiveness, and repentance fill the pages of this work.
Despite all of its religious imagery and imagination, however, it is a work that is completely devoid of any notions of real redemption, forgiveness or love. Clamence's/Camus' view is basically that this world is, indeed, fallen but that there is nothing else.
It is interesting that an entire discussion about the death of God takes place within this book. As Camus - like Nietzsche before him - notes, without God all meaning and transcendence is lost. The picture Camus paints of such a world is indeed compelling if God is dead; as Clamence says - tragically - at the end of the book, he would permit himself everything all over again but without laughter the next time.Read more ›
There is much reflection on morality, self-absobtion, the need to feel dominant, and the judgement and guilt that must be endured by each of us. It is woven around a complex core of philosophy (much of which is, admittedly, beyond my grasp) that gives the story great depth. I thoroughly enjoyed the introspective, thoughtful tone of the book. The thing that I truly reveled in, though, was Camus' spare yet eloquent imagery. The scene that Camus paints of Amsterdam, where the book is set, is incredibly suggestive and subtle. For another example, Jean compares Paris to an enourmous stage set, inhabited by silouettes consumed by pursuit of ideas and sex.Read more ›
While not as much of a 'downer' book as the above synopsis may sound to some, this is a very sobering story for those who have given little thought to their own moral position in the world. The narrator's fall from ignorant bliss is universal, or at least common enough that it should strike a disturbing chord with most readers. Still, the story is perhaps not entirely without hope, and is, of course, told in descriptive language that evokes urban Europe while providing settings that carefully dictate mood and theme as well. The structure of the essentially one-sided conversation is powerfully riveting, and helps keep this book a quick read despite its weightiness, but the structure is also functional within the context of the story, since the purpose is to convert the reader to the narrator's viewpoint. Whether this technical tour-de-force actually changes one's life or not, readers should be prompted to re-examine their own lives and values, which in itself can hardly be a bad thing. This book is not challenging reading, but it challenges the way we live and perceive ourselves.
Most recent customer reviews
Its too hard to describe this though it is a novel, set under a guise of a fauex monologue by someone named Clamence. Read morePublished on July 17 2004 by musicburgler
This is the second piece of work I have read by Camus, the first being is most well-known work, The Stranger. Read morePublished on April 18 2004
In my humble opinion, after reading all of the works of Albert Camus, I still think that "The Fall" its one of the best works from him, the angusty and anger of Camus is... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004 by Daniell Marafon
This book is one of the best from one of my favorite authors, whom I turn to when I need solace from this crazy world. Camus asked and answered the universal questions. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2004 by Hugh Pearson
One of the most profound and intellectually challenging books I have had the pleasure of reading... It makes you think about things as most books rarely do. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004
Possibly my favorite book ever. It still draws me in. The analogy of peeling onion layers is most obvious in reading it. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003 by DAVID E KLABOE
My favorite book for Camus, his style in writing is very provocative, and challenging. Forces you to think of his personality and how that relates to us. Read morePublished on July 17 2003 by Space