The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for ...
The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate mother, and by the teacher who transforms his view of the world. The most autobiographical of Camus' novels, it gives profound insights into his life and the powerful themes underlying his work. Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. The works that established his international reputation include The Plague, The Fall, The Rebel and The Outsider. Camus died in a road accident in 1960 and is remembered as one of the greatest philsophical novelists of the twentieth century.
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A few years following his acclaim as Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus suffers a fatal car accident. The manuscript found in the wreckage has been edited by his daughter and published as "the First Man" in 1995. In this autobiography, camus intdroduces us to the poverty and struggles of the french algerian colonists. Having been orphaned by his fathers death in WWW 1 trenches, he is raised by an affectionate but deaf mute Mother and a tyrannical and abusive gradmother. How he survives this bleak environment is largely due to a remarkable teacher who rechognizes his talsnts and tutors him up to scholarships. Tallented in philosophy as well as journalism, his essays on "Absurdism" and nihilism make a mark on Parisian intellectuals. Written with intense feeling and honesty, his life story is tryuly inspiring. A great book !
Sep 8, 2007
The First Man - Camus
This was such a gem to find! Unfinished, and therefore full of notes to himself, it shows us Camus in reverie. Tender, heartbreaking, real -- I feel I have been in the life of the boy who surely was Camus himself! Even if you find other books by Camus uncomfortably dark, this one is full of the kind of hope that perseveres in the heart of a brilliant spirit.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-06-24 Camus was working on this novel, an autobiographical coming-of-age story, when he died in 1960. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly, 1995-07-17 Among the wreckage of Camus's fatal car crash in 1960 was a 144-page handwritten manuscript, a first draft of a projected epic, the Nobel Prize winner's final novel. Suppressed by his family for decades in order to avoid criticism from the Left, the manuscript, transcribed by Camus' daughter, was finally published last year in France, where it became a bestseller. Now the narrative, carefully annotated, has reached our shores, allowing admirers of Camus and of fine literature in general to delve into its complex, strongly autobiographical pages. Jacques Cormery, 40, returns to his native Algeria to learn about his father, who died at the Battle of the Marne when Jacques was one. In Africa, Jacques relives his childhood growing up in a house dominated by a gentle and illiterate mother and an abusive and illiterate grandmother. His only father figures are a ``half-mute'' uncle and a grade-school teacher who manages to get the boy a scholarship to a private high school. Meanwhile, the simmering racial and political conflict between Arabs and Frenchmen provides a compelling subtext that threatens to come to the fore at any moment. The autobiographical nature of the material is betrayed by Camus's occasional use of real-life names for the characters; for instance, as when he calls Jacques's mother the ``Widow Camus.'' The profuse footnotes can make the reading slow going, but the novel is a vital example of the writer's craft, its pages filled with alluring passages depicting an exotic world so removed it feels like part of another century. Camus, who customarily revised his fiction up to a half dozen times, no doubt would have changed much, and perhaps the final version would have stressed the bitter class animus already in evidence (``Remembrance of things past is just for the rich''). It's likely that no amount of reworking, however, would have disguised the novel's most compelling aspect: the warmth and humanity of its author's spirit. BOMC and QPB selections (Sept.)
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