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A story that runs hot to Albert Camus’ cold

By Manal Shakir

“The Meursault Investigation” by Kamel Daoud is a retelling of the 1942 French novel by Albert Camus. Camus’ book, “The Stranger,” tells the story of Meursault, a man who resigns himself to a desensitized life with little care in the world. The book begins with the death of Meursault’s mother, and his indifference to her passing.

His apathy continues throughout the story, even when one day, while wandering on the beach he shoots and kills an Arab man for which he is eventually tried and found guilty. Camus never elaborates on the identity of the murdered man other than calling him an Arab. In Kamel Daoud’s retelling, he unfolds the story of the victim, giving him a name and a face and historical context, which is interwoven with the trials and tribulations of living under French colonial rule in Algeria and finally independence.

The opening line of Daoud’s book, “Mama’s still alive today,” is a direct antithesis to Camus’ opening, “Mother died today.” Unlike Camus’ book, Daoud’s story is told from the perspective of Meursault’s victim’s brother, Harun, in the coastal city of Oran, Algeria. Read more

Source: Arab News

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When the reteller of Albert Camus’s classic “The Stranger” received a fatwa

KameldoudThere are elements of the absurd about the plight of Kamel Daoud, an Algerian writer whose debut novel reaped glowing international reviews, literary honors and then, suddenly, demands for his public execution.

His book, “Meursault, Counter-Investigation,” is a retelling of Albert Camus’s classic “The Stranger,” from an Algerian perspective. Within its 160 pages, Mr. Daoud (pronounced DOW-ood) gives voice to the brother of the nameless Arab murder victim who is shot five times on a beach in Algiers by the antihero, Meursault. Continue reading


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India: Despite pitfalls, publishers bet on translated vernacular Indian literature

Haruki MurakamiWhen asked on a podcast for the New Yorker’s website in 2011 what is untranslatable about Japanese author Haruki Murakami, one of his longtime translators Jay Rubin said, “Pretty much everything. I strongly advise people not to read literature in translation because I know what happens in the process.” If his suggestion were to be heeded, most of us would not be edified by the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Albert Camus, Italo Calvino and Saadat Hasan Manto.

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