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A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.
Published: VintageAnchor an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Aug 8, 2012
ISBN: 9780307827807
List price: $10.99
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When the plague stealthily but mercilessly struck Oran, Dr. Rieux and his friends had to fight in the dark a noiseless enemy and could only rely on their courage and resilience. Whether the plague symbolized the Nazi occupation of France or the general suffering of our human condition, Camus focused on the internal character and strength of Rieux and his friends rather than the storm’s force and direction. Tarrou organized the sanitation team and Grand joined even though, as Rieux noted, their surviving it was only one in three. And the journalist Rambert could have left the city and returned to Paris, but was willing to risk not only his happiness with his girlfriend but also his life to struggle alongside Oran’s inhabitants to defeat the plague. Unlike Meursault in The Stranger, who stood alone and alienated, Dr. Rieux fought the plague alongside his comrades Tarrou, Grand, Rambert and Castel. Though in the end, the plague took Tarrou’s life and those of several acquaintances, camaraderie had strengthened their resolve to fight this unknown and powerful enemy and highlighted the hope that in tumultuous hours and charred wastelands a few good men and women might sacrifice for the common good. And though when the city celebrated its victory, Rieux must mourn the loss of his wife, not through the plague but through a previous illness, newborn aroma seeped through the stench of the plague. As Rieux noted at the novel’s conclusion, the enemy might return; and in the next battle victory might escape beyond the city, but their courage and sacrifice would carry the fight across desert and sea.An allegory of our existential condition, The Plague sprinkles hope without relying on Pollyanna.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
First thousands of rats come out in the streets to die a miserable death and then the people start to die in agony in their homes. Camus tale of the plague is a timeless story which shows how horrific events influence the way humans start to look at their lives and how that influences their behavior towards other humans. The plague is very often compared with the situation people were in during WW2, but in my opinion this story can be transfered to a wide range of events of the past and present, to demonstrate how humanity can survive whilst starring in the face of death. I have read this book already a few times and everytime does this stark story move me again and again.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I can certainly understand why this book would turn people off. However, I find this book is the essential piece of literature for our time, and perhaps any other. Camus exposes the essential absurdity of our situation and continues to show the inadequacies of the way many deal with that absurdity. With Dr. Rieux we have an example of Camus's absurd hero. He has no way of fighting this disease and no way of understanding its wrath and yet he has no choice but to keep fighting. He knows one day the plague will leave but that in the meantime his expertise is useless. Thus he stands as an example of how all should live. He rebels against the disease in the only way he can without really hoping for success. However, success is of little significance in the work of Camus.Everyone will at some point be struck by the absurdity of life. Camus urges us to step up and fight for what is right regardless of this absurdity. The rebellion in full knowledge of the lack of hope is a necessary condition of life. Besides Dr. Rieux there is a secondary character that is continuously working on a book but can never perfect the first paragraph. Again here we have a rebellion that this man must keep working in the face of horrific pain and in the sure knowledge that as much as he would like to finish this book he will never be able too.There is another step that Camus takes when speaking about the church in Oran. Camus feels that when the absurdity is revealed it must strip away the pieces of our lives used as crutches. The church serves to try and explain those most difficult parts of our lives. Here in the face of this horror Camus uses Dr. Rieux to show the inadequacy of its explanation. The church here serves as source of comfort that obscures the unsettling facts of the situation. Camus finds this unacceptable and believes real freedom of the mind comes without these filters.This book was tremendously important in my life and while I can see its problems, Camus exposed a new realm. I plan on reading this book again soon and its message to me at this point may well be different but I still find this first reading very influential. I recommend this to anyone and everyone. Even if you hate the book I can understand that but it explains a worldview of significance in our complex modern world.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

When the plague stealthily but mercilessly struck Oran, Dr. Rieux and his friends had to fight in the dark a noiseless enemy and could only rely on their courage and resilience. Whether the plague symbolized the Nazi occupation of France or the general suffering of our human condition, Camus focused on the internal character and strength of Rieux and his friends rather than the storm’s force and direction. Tarrou organized the sanitation team and Grand joined even though, as Rieux noted, their surviving it was only one in three. And the journalist Rambert could have left the city and returned to Paris, but was willing to risk not only his happiness with his girlfriend but also his life to struggle alongside Oran’s inhabitants to defeat the plague. Unlike Meursault in The Stranger, who stood alone and alienated, Dr. Rieux fought the plague alongside his comrades Tarrou, Grand, Rambert and Castel. Though in the end, the plague took Tarrou’s life and those of several acquaintances, camaraderie had strengthened their resolve to fight this unknown and powerful enemy and highlighted the hope that in tumultuous hours and charred wastelands a few good men and women might sacrifice for the common good. And though when the city celebrated its victory, Rieux must mourn the loss of his wife, not through the plague but through a previous illness, newborn aroma seeped through the stench of the plague. As Rieux noted at the novel’s conclusion, the enemy might return; and in the next battle victory might escape beyond the city, but their courage and sacrifice would carry the fight across desert and sea.An allegory of our existential condition, The Plague sprinkles hope without relying on Pollyanna.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
First thousands of rats come out in the streets to die a miserable death and then the people start to die in agony in their homes. Camus tale of the plague is a timeless story which shows how horrific events influence the way humans start to look at their lives and how that influences their behavior towards other humans. The plague is very often compared with the situation people were in during WW2, but in my opinion this story can be transfered to a wide range of events of the past and present, to demonstrate how humanity can survive whilst starring in the face of death. I have read this book already a few times and everytime does this stark story move me again and again.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I can certainly understand why this book would turn people off. However, I find this book is the essential piece of literature for our time, and perhaps any other. Camus exposes the essential absurdity of our situation and continues to show the inadequacies of the way many deal with that absurdity. With Dr. Rieux we have an example of Camus's absurd hero. He has no way of fighting this disease and no way of understanding its wrath and yet he has no choice but to keep fighting. He knows one day the plague will leave but that in the meantime his expertise is useless. Thus he stands as an example of how all should live. He rebels against the disease in the only way he can without really hoping for success. However, success is of little significance in the work of Camus.Everyone will at some point be struck by the absurdity of life. Camus urges us to step up and fight for what is right regardless of this absurdity. The rebellion in full knowledge of the lack of hope is a necessary condition of life. Besides Dr. Rieux there is a secondary character that is continuously working on a book but can never perfect the first paragraph. Again here we have a rebellion that this man must keep working in the face of horrific pain and in the sure knowledge that as much as he would like to finish this book he will never be able too.There is another step that Camus takes when speaking about the church in Oran. Camus feels that when the absurdity is revealed it must strip away the pieces of our lives used as crutches. The church serves to try and explain those most difficult parts of our lives. Here in the face of this horror Camus uses Dr. Rieux to show the inadequacy of its explanation. The church here serves as source of comfort that obscures the unsettling facts of the situation. Camus finds this unacceptable and believes real freedom of the mind comes without these filters.This book was tremendously important in my life and while I can see its problems, Camus exposed a new realm. I plan on reading this book again soon and its message to me at this point may well be different but I still find this first reading very influential. I recommend this to anyone and everyone. Even if you hate the book I can understand that but it explains a worldview of significance in our complex modern world.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although the title suggests a story of saddness and horror(which it is), Camu keeps his focus on the effects of the epidemic on the quartentened town, the individual actors and their gowing or deterioriting relationships. The descriptions of seemingly insiginificant events in each individual life are beautifully written and although the pace of the story of slow, it matches the advance of the disease as it takes over the town. The individuals discover inner strengths,and reveal themselves to one another as they fight or try to flee from the monster.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When rats begin dying in legions in the small coastal town of Oran, it citizens are disgusted but otherwise uninterested. When cases of bubonic plague begin to crop up in the population, the officials hesitate to overestimate the severity of their predicament. When the plague at last becomes too pervasive to ignore and the entire city is quarantined, the citizens of Oran go about their business and try their best to live normal lives in the face of horrible epidemic.Camus' The Pague follows a small collection of men in the city, each of whom reacts to the Plague in different ways. We have the reporter Rambert, who spends his time trying to escape back to his wife in Paris, the criminal Cottard who takes solace in the fact that everyone else is now suffering as much as he has suffered, and the doctor Rieux, who accepts the facts of the plague and does what he feels is the only thing there is to do, fight it wherever it reveals itself, among others. While the plague is real and terrible in the book, Camus is not simply writing about a single epidemic. The lifeshaking event of the plague is not the terror itself in his novel, but rather a giant focusing crystal through which people are forced to look at the essence of our everyday lives. It shocks the characters and the readers into contemplation of what has value in their lives and how we should live when living is so full of struggle and uncertainty.This isn't a book all about a plague and what it does to a city, it's a book about a city and what it does when faced with the plague. It is not a gut wrenching horror novel, but a book for serious contemplation. It is literature written to provoke thought in the reader, and if the reader is not interested in taking the ideas of The Plague and applying them to their own everyday life, the value of The Plague will be be lost on them.The greatest part of this novel is in its dialogue. The characters in The Plague are all symbolic of particular mindsets, and their discussions are not just discussions between people but interactions of various ways of thinking. As a quick example here is a chat between Tarrou and Rieux, the two men who probably have the greatest understanding of each other in the book.==="What do you think of Paneloux's sermon, Doctor?"The questions was asked in quite an ordinary tone, and Rieux answered in the same tone."I've seen too much of hospitals to relish any idea of collective punishment. But, as you know, Christians sometimes say that sort of thing without really thinking it. They're better than they seem.""However, you think, like Paneloux, that the plague has a good side; it opens men's eyes and forces them to take thought?"The doctor tossed his head impatiently."So does every ill that flesh is heir to. What's true of all the evils in the world is true of the plague as well. It helps men rise above themselves. All the same, when you see the misery it brings, you'd need to be a madman, or a coward, or stone blind, to give in tamely to the plague."===You can flip to any page in this book and find similar dialog, all contemplative and struggling with the reality of the plague and life. I've yet to read a work of existential thought so well crafted or that illuminated my own philosophy so well. The Plague will not be for everyone. It is critical of certain aspects of religion, can be considered extremely depressing or nihilistic, and anyone looking for a 'page turner' will not find any narrative suspense to keep them interested here. This is a sober thinker's book, and one that I have mentally shelved (face forward) as reference as I continue my philosophical education.
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I remember why I didn't take many 20th century literature classes as an undergrad. The plague is about the happenings in the town of Oran (probably in Algeria) when the plague hits. It is a study in characters and the ways that humans adapt to new and stressful circumstances. It was also somewhat meandering, oddly written (though that could have been the translation) - like he was going for a very old time-y feel but not quite successful, and rather boring. TAKE THAT ENGLISH MAJORS OF THE WORLD.
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