The Fall is a lesser-known novel by Albert Camus
, who also wrote The Stranger
and The Rebel
. This is my favorite among his various works that I have read, though I have only absored it in English
because ...well... I know neither common
nor philosophical French
(though I really should try to learn it sometime). It is written in the 2nd person
, detailing a conversation
between oneself and the character
Camus assumes, namely Jean-Baptiste Clamence, which follows the events in the life of this former Parisian lawyer
. He confesses the secrets
of his existence
and his past life. The tension builds throughout the novel as one becomes more and more curious about the solution to the dilemma
he has encountered in his life, his fall from the state of immunity
to the judgement
of his fellow men.
This book is basically an existentialist allegory on judgement of all forms. Camus packs the book to the bursting point with odd personal anecdotes and little sophisticated revelations to help further his point: every triumph reveals a failure, every motive a hidden treachery. One gets the feeling that he is battling against one's preconceptions like some sort of swordsman, jabbing at one concept after another, parrying all retaliations, going in for the kill.
It's an exhausting book to read, and it takes a little effort since it is written in both an uncommon form and has been translated from French. But, it is certainly worth the effort, and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone with an interest in existentialism.