Read this in a day and thoroughly enjoyed it. Monsieur Meursault is peculiar (to use his girlfriend Marie’s description) yet people are drawn to him. Raymond befriends him and even the grouchy neighbor with the dog turns to him. It’s strange not only because Meursault does not show emotions but because he seems not exactly aloof but straightforward.
Meursault’s disposition is what gets him into trouble. He is so out of the ordinary that people don’t understand him. He comes off as unemotional after Maman’s death, a fact that the prosecutor focuses on to unsettle the jury. Even his employer calls him unambitious after his lack of excitement on a potential transfer to Paris. His feelings are way too bottled up.
Death by guillotine though? That is too extreme. I had forgotten France guillotined people well into the 20th century. What an awful way to go. Did he kill a man? Yes. But it wasn’t the way the prosecutor described. It wasn’t premeditated.
That ending. Meursault finally expresses himself.
Too little, too late.
Cue Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique: March to the Scaffold.