“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know. I had a telegram from the home: ‘Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours Sincerely.’ That doesn’t mean anything . It may have been yesterday.”
are the opening lines of the 118-paged, modern classic “The Outsider” authored by Albert Camus. The protagonist, Meresault, soon after he receives the telegram takes leave from work , which his boss reluctantly gives and visits his mother’s funeral but little does he show a feeling of pain neither does he weep to show his emotions.
“The room was too hot “ he says. After catching up on his sleep and drinking white coffee, he visits the funeral of his mother. The same day he goes to visit his girlfriend, Marie and then they go for a movie, where he apparently enjoys thoroughly.
Meresault seldom talks about his mother after math. The only time he talks of her profusely is when he allegedly murders a Arab at a beach and during the hearing of the case when the prosecution lawyer blames him for his insensitive nature, he says he loved her like everyone does.
And soon feels tired of speaking. Meresault is an Outsider to the society where every action of his is from his heart and not to please the world. Hence people treat him differently.
The author summarized his book in one powerful sentence “In our society a man who doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral is condemned to death’
Read the book to know more about Meresault. This Nobel-prize-winning book actually made me feel like an Outsider too at some places. A modern tale of Harischandra, if I am allowed to say so.