Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Club #11: The Stranger

Hello there, best friends! By now you should know that I'm doing an online book club, right here on the blog. While it's not tightly related to fashion, reading is one of my favorite activities and I do think people within the fashion industry (and everyone else too, really) need to read things other than magazines. The chosen book for this month was a classic, a must-read and, being honest, quite challenging for me. I gave it a go and here's what I think. Book Club #11 comes in the shape of The Stranger, by Albert Camus.

// ¡Hola mejores amigos! A estas alturas ya deberían saber que hago un club de lectura online, justo aquí en el blog. Aún cuando no está súper relacionado con moda, leer es una de mis actividades favoritas y creo que la gente dentro de la industria de la moda (toda la gente, en general) necesita leer otras cosas además de revistas. El libro elegido para este mes es un clásico, un must-read y, siendo honestos, un gran desafío para mí. Le di una oportunidad y aquí está lo que pienso. El Book Club #11 viene en la forma de The Stranger, de Albert Camus.
I'm drinking an avocado milkshake and eating home-made chocolate clusters :D
Being numb is something that people crave sometimes... It's completely okay when you want that for yourself but, usually, when people meet others who act almost numb to any sort of emotion, they freak out, they get scared and, sadly, they assume something's wrong with that person. They'll try to fix him instead of understanding what he's about. That's exactly what happens with this story's main character, Mersault, he's that guy that is numb when it comes to feelings and, during the course of the novel, he learns that even that comes with a price.

A certain sense of indifference marks its presence in every page of this book, this is the story of a man who has an average life, doesn't cause too much trouble, isn't concerned with having a big fairy tale romance and one who recently lost his mom and didn't cry about it. It's a story of a man who is in the wrong place at the wrong time but isn't really scared of the consequences. He's a stranger to emotion, he's a stranger to compassion, he is, at the end of the day, that: a stranger.

This was Albert Camus' first published novel, it was released in the 40's. Maybe that made it hard for me to read. It's a short book, but Camus' style is quite different from all the things I've read before. Maybe that's why he won a Nobel prize in literature. That didn't make me like this book. I feel indifference towards it, I don't feel like I learned a thing from it, sometimes those things happen, you know? You hear a book has great hype, your expectations are high and, in the end, it doesn't quite make sense for you. But don't get me wrong, I don't regret reading it; it's all part of the magic of book clubs, sometimes you like what you read, other times... Not so much.

// Estar adormecido es algo que la gente ansía a veces... Está completamente bien cuando lo quieres para ti mismo pero, usualmente, cuando la gente conoce a otros que actúan adormecidos o paralizados ante las emociones, se asustan y, tristemente, asumen que hay algo mal con esa persona. Tratarán de arreglarlo en lugar de entender de qué va. Eso es exactamente lo que pasa con el personaje principal de esta historia, Mersault, él es ese hombre que parece estar desconectado de los sentimientos y, durante el transcurso de la novela, aprende que hasta eso tiene su precio. 

Un cierto sentido de indiferencia marca su presencia en cada página del libro, ésta es una historia de un hombre con una vida promedio, que no causa muchos problemas, que no le importa tener un romance de cuento de hadas y uno que recientemente perdió a su madre y no lloró por ella. Es la historia de un hombre que está en el lugar equivocado, en el momento equivocado, pero que no da mucha importancia a las consecuencias. Es un extraño ante la emoción, un extraño ante la compasión, él es, al final de día, eso: un extraño.

Ésta fue la primera novela que se publicó de Albert Camus, fue lanzada en los 40's. Quizá eso hizo que fuera difícil para mí leerlo. Es un libro corto, pero el estilo de Camus es distinto a todas las cosas que he leído antes. Quizá es por eso que ganó un premio Nobel en literatura. Eso no hizo que me gustara este libro, siento indiferencia ante él, no siento que aprendí algo de él, a veces esas cosas pasan ¿saben? Escuchas que un libro tiene mucha fama, tus expectativas son altas y, al final, no cobra mucho sentido para ti. Pero no me malentiendan, no me arrepiento de haberlo leído; todo es parte de la magia de los clubs del libro, a veces te gusta lo que lees, otras... No tanto.
You can buy The Stranger, along with many other titles by Albert Camus, at Book Depository.

Have you read this novel? Do you think it lives up to its hype?
I'd love to hear what you think!
Love always,
Henry.

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