The Stranger has to be one of my all time favourite books which I come back to again and again.
For me, it has everything I want in a book; it raises interesting questions, it pushes boundaries and leaves itself forever etched in my mind.
Written by Albert Camus and published in 1942, the story revolves around the character of Meursault, a French Algerian man who has been charged with the murder of an Arab man.
The authors lack of description of the character of Meursault only fuels our interest and imagination, allowing us to create our own world for the seemingly lost soul of Meursault. We are aware from the beginning he is quite the odd man, not uncaring or unkind but utterly preoccupied with avoiding hurting anyone's feelings.
One cannot but feel sorrow towards this emotionless man who never wept at his mother's funeral nor seemed to show remorse in the killing of another man.
It is never fully explained why Meursault is the way that he is, the reasoning he uses for the crime he's committed is that the scorching hot sun was in his eyes, this in itself is enough to know we are not dealing with someone of a sound mind.
It is a beautiful tragedy, that's the only way I can describe it. The theme of existentialism is focused on greatly in this book and is portrayed so well by Meursault - he floats through life existing but not really living, the only way he can truly feel free is through death.
There is no excuse not to read this book. It is a quick read at less than 150 pages, and I can promise it will instil the thought in your mind that you should never judge a book of its cover.