The Outsider, The Stranger, or L’Etranger in French, is a novel by Albert Camus published in 1942. Its theme and outlook are often cited as exemplars of Camus’s philosophy of the absurd and existentialism, though Camus personally rejected the latter label. The titular character is Meursault, an indifferent French Algerian (“a citizen of France domiciled in North Africa, a man of the Mediterranean, an homme du midi yet one who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture”) who, after attending his mother’s funeral, apathetically kills an Arab man whom he recognises in French Algiers.
The story is divided into two parts: Meursault’s first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively. In January 1955, Camus said, “I summarized The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.”