When One Novel Talks with Another: The Dialogue Between Camus’ The Stranger and Kamel Daoud’s the Meursault Investigation


One of the 20th century's major works of fiction is Camus' The Stranger, a novel where a French Algerian kills an Arab and is executed for it. Is his condemnation based more on his disinterest in the recent passing of his mother? For many years, Meursault, the protagonist of this novel, beguiled readers with his absurd-like act of murder. But neither Meursault nor his Western-reading audience ever took much notice of his victim. Recently, Algerian author Kamel Daoud wrote about this victim in his novel The Meursault Investigation. Daoud's novel becomes a dialogue with the text that gave birth to his story. If Camus' The Stranger is the French father, then Daoud's The Meursault Investigation is the Algerian stepson. But father and stepson are also texts that share the same story, landscape, and even destiny. In so doing, Meursault's murder may seem less absurd now that we know about his victim--a fully developed character in Daoud's novel. If the nameless Arab victim in Camus' text represents the overlooked colonized subject, he becomes the independent character rewriting a narrative he previously had no voice in.

Author Information
Kenneth DiMaggio, Capital Community College, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICAHDubai2017
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

This paper is part of the IICAHDubai2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon