The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud (Translated by John Cullen) - review by Martin Evans

Martin Evans

Inside Outsider

The Meursault Investigation


Oneworld 143pp £8.99 order from our bookshop

‘Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.’ The opening lines of Albert Camus’s 1942 novel The Outsider are among the most famous in literature. With them begins the story of Meursault (we never know his first name), a lowly young settler in French colonial Algeria. Unmoved by the death of his mother, his detached, matter-of-fact nature puts him at odds with society.

At the heart of the novel is a murder on a beach in Algiers at two o’clock in the afternoon, the result of a confrontation that pits Meursault and his streetwise pimp friend, Raymond, against a group of unnamed Arabs. The latter are out for revenge because of Raymond’s threatening behaviour towards the sister of one of them. A fight ensues. But when Meursault sees them for a second time he is overcome by the sun’s heat, loses his self-control and shoots one of the Arabs dead with five

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

Kafka Drawings

Follow Literary Review on Twitter