A Happy Death by Albert Camus
For months now, I’ve been meaning to read all the books on my bookshelf that I’ve never read before. And for months, I’ve been distracted by the pretty new shiny books at the library. But now, it’s time. I’ve cleared out my library loans, and I have a clean slate (apart from an audiobook, but that’s for my commute). I received Albert Camus’s A Happy Death for my college graduation from my dear friend D, who majored in English, Math, and French (she’s crazy smart like that) and is getting her PhD in Math. I decided it was finally time to read the book.
I read The Stranger probably 7-8 years ago, but I don’t remember a whole lot about it. According to the good people of Goodreads, A Happy Death was written first but remained unpublished for a long time and should be considered sort of the origin point for The Stranger. The plot is fairly simple, but seems straightforward: a man kills his lover’s former lover (who has suffered greatly as a cripple), escapes punishment, and then seeks out meaning and a happy death. But is it possible to find a happy death?
This is an intensely psychological novel, and sometimes, it’s hard to understand the plot or the direction the novel is heading. But Camus deliberately avoids plot-heavy stories, I’ve learned. This is about the workings of the mind and how you represent it in text. I’m glad I read this novel, almost seven years after graduating college, even if I’m not entirely sure I got everything I was supposed to out of this novel.