Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Exile and the Kingdom

Rate this book
These six stories, written at the height of Camus' artistic powers, all depict people at decisive, revelatory moments in their lives. Translated from the French by Justin O'Brien.

The six works featured in this volume are:

"The Adulterous Woman" ("La Femme adultère")
"The Renegade or a Confused Spirit" ("Le Renégat ou un esprit confus")
"The Silent Men" ("Les Muets")
"The Guest" ("L'Hôte")
"Jonas or the Artist at Work" ("Jonas ou l’artiste au travail")
"The Growing Stone" ("La Pierre qui pousse")

213 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1950

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Albert Camus

800 books28.2k followers
Works, such as the novels The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947), of Algerian-born French writer and philosopher Albert Camus concern the absurdity of the human condition; he won the Nobel Prize of 1957 for literature.

Origin and his experiences of this representative of non-metropolitan literature in the 1930s dominated influences in his thought and work.

He also adapted plays of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Dino Buzzati, and Requiem for a Nun of William Faulkner. One may trace his enjoyment of the theater back to his membership in l'Equipe, an Algerian group, whose "collective creation" Révolte dans les Asturies (1934) was banned for political reasons.

Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest, he came at the age of 25 years in 1938; only chance prevented him from pursuing a university career in that field. The man and the times met: Camus joined the resistance movement during the occupation and after the liberation served as a columnist for the newspaper Combat.

The essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), 1942, expounds notion of acceptance of the absurd of Camus with "the total absence of hope, which has nothing to do with despair, a continual refusal, which must not be confused with renouncement - and a conscious dissatisfaction."
Meursault, central character of L'Étranger (The Stranger), 1942, illustrates much of this essay: man as the nauseated victim of the absurd orthodoxy of habit, later - when the young killer faces execution - tempted by despair, hope, and salvation.

Besides his fiction and essays, Camus very actively produced plays in the theater (e.g., Caligula, 1944).

The time demanded his response, chiefly in his activities, but in 1947, Camus retired from political journalism.

Doctor Rieux of La Peste (The Plague), 1947, who tirelessly attends the plague-stricken citizens of Oran, enacts the revolt against a world of the absurd and of injustice, and confirms words: "We refuse to despair of mankind. Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them."

People also well know La Chute (The Fall), work of Camus in 1956.

Camus authored L'Exil et le royaume (Exile and the Kingdom) in 1957. His austere search for moral order found its aesthetic correlative in the classicism of his art. He styled of great purity, intense concentration, and rationality.

Camus died at the age of 46 years in a car accident near Sens in le Grand Fossard in the small town of Villeblevin.

Chinese 阿尔贝·加缪

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,298 (26%)
4 stars
5,169 (40%)
3 stars
3,461 (27%)
2 stars
615 (4%)
1 star
114 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 701 reviews
Profile Image for Gaurav.
170 reviews1,220 followers
July 21, 2016

Exile and the Kingdom: Stories

Albert Camus

The stories explore common themes of existence, freedom, dilemma of a stranger; the vexation between solitude and togetherness, exile and repatriate, silence and noise. The protagonists of all the stories are exiled and feel inner conflict on these themes- Daru in The Guest faces the dilemma to choose between his loyalty to homeland or the place he's residing, Yvars in The Mute to choose between his resignation to demands of the firm or demand of rights as a worker.

All the stories are set in beautiful but cruel landscapes- the sea and sun of Algeria, its hostile desert plateaus, lonely plains, the dense forests, the river and red dust- which are evoked such with powerful and lyrical prose that these landscapes seem to possess power to seduce anyone with their ironic beauty.

The adulterous wife Janine, felts outrage against the Arabs, who she regards inferior with their culture alien to her:

...on the dry earth of this measureless land scraped to the bone, a few men ceaselessly made their way, possessing nothing but serving no one, the destitute and free lords of a strange kingdom

Janine feels the existential dilemma, for it occurs to her that she exists for her husband and her own existence may not be real, perhaps she is not essentially existing, the absurdness of human existence surrounds her, she accepts demands of her husband unwillingly as it may take lot of her energy to deny him, however, it gives her joy that she is needed by her husband, perhaps this knowledge gives a compensatory justification to her existence in chilly reality of life.

The settings of the story The Renegade reminds me of Samuel Beckett's trilogy - Malone dies and The Unnamable- (probably because I recently read them, perhaps because the protagonist of the trilogy is in similar settings, mainly because of the fact that it's a monologue as The Unnamable is), it's about a man who came to the salt city of Taghasa to convert its people but who is himself captured and mutilated by Fetish and lives in his imprisonment, he thinks over how to change his situation and feels that absolute power is required to get control over life. He gradually comes to conclusion that evil is best virtue to have by a man and in the end fully absorbed by it.

The rifle, quick, and I load it quickly. O fetish, my god down there, amy your power be sustained, may the offence be multiplied, may hatred reign mercilessly over a world of the damned, may the wicked be master forever, may kingdom come at last where in a single city of salt and iron black tyrants will enslave and possess without pity! And now gha gha, fire on pity, fire on powerlessness and its charity, fire on all that delays the coming evil, fire twice, and the they go toppling over, falling, and, the camels flee straight toward horizon where a geyser of black bird has just risen in the unchanged sky.

After killing, the protagonist regrets over his situation as he becomes one of those whom he kills, it shows his anguish over absurdness of life as people always regret over their acts even when they very well know at their heart that it won't change anything, which shows absurdness of our life.

In The Mute, the protagonist, Yvars, fails to come out of his passivity towards his demands as a worker and feels that he along with his colleagues should rise above their resignation to claim their rights and respect as workers, the news of heart-attack of boss's daughter throw him in absurd situation, for he feels anguish over his inaction towards rights as a worker, he feels existential dilemma for his inaction, for he very well understands he has to act, make a choice but he's not.

The Guest perfectly depicts the theme- exile- which is also title of the book, the plateau based Daru watches two visitors approaching towards him, thinks of the destitute families of his Arab students, he distributes ration to them

The country was like that, a cruel place to live, even without the men, who didn't help matters. But Daru had been born here. Anywhere else, he felt exiled.
In the current situation he hosts an Arab prisoner, his apparently 'guest', but actually Daru is true guest is this country, he received good hospitality in this country, for which he decides not to move in his 'prisoner-guest' however eventually he finds himself rejected by both rebellious Arabs and colonial Frenchmen, he takes neutral stance over the conflict but he's been exiled in this country and founds himself in existential conflict between his loyalty to his native land or birth land.

"Jonas: The Artist at Work" is the story about Jonas, an artist, who struggles to live up to his reputation as a painter, he faces the dilemma to continue his legacy as it pings him that he has nothing more to paint, he's now only shadow of himself and may not be existing anymore.

'An artist who's on the way out is finished. Look, he has nothing to paint anymore. Now they're painting him and they'll hang him on the wall'.

However, soon this chilling reality occurs to him that perhaps artists themselves never exist, for they need references (which may be played by other people) to ascertain their existence, their being is not in it true self.

'But many artists are like that. They're not sure they exist, even the greatest. So they look for proof, they judge, they condemn. It bolsters them, it's the beginning of existence. They're so alone!'

He continues to spend his days in exile which he creates in his own house, for his house is always filled with unwanted visitors and he feels dilemma over his commitment to art or to society:

He was like those men who die at home alone in their sleep, and when morning comes the telephone rings and keeps ringing, urgent and insistent, in the deserted house, over a corpse forever deaf. But he was alive, he was listening to this silence within himself, he was waiting for his star, still hidden but ready to rise again, to emerge at last, unchanged, above the disorder of these empty days. 'Shine, shine,' he would say.

After being in seclusion for many days, he comes to the realization that all this dilemma, anguish is absurd and futile, for this exile doesn't bring any good to his art, the liveliness of life can only be felt by living, and perhaps his last painting also indicates the same.

He told himself that now he would never work again, he was happy. He heard his children shouting, the water running, the dishes clinking. Louise was talking. The huge windows rattled as a truck passes on the boulevard. The world was still there, young, lovable: Jonas listened to the lovely murmur of humanity. From so far away it did not conflict with that joyful strength in him, his art, those thoughts that he could never express but that set him above all things, in an atmosphere that was free and alive.

The last story 'The Growing Stone' is about an engineer D'Arrast who visits Iguape, a town in Brazil, for construction of a bridge. He readily gets mingle with people in administration of the town, he is beguiled by the natural beauty of the town and the seductive vitality of its people- embodied by a young black girl. However, the protagonist chooses to be a voluntary exile but did not earn faith of common people instantaneously.

The truth is, he had not stopped waiting since he had arrived in this country a month before. he was waiting-in the red heat of humid days, under the tiny stars at night, despite his tasks, the dams to build, the road to cut through- as if work he had come here to do were merely a pretext, the occasion for a surprise or an encounter he could not even imagine, but which had been waiting ofr him, patiently, at the end of the world.

Eventually by honoring a poor native who has undertaken a Sisyphean task that he is able to honor himself. He also experiences moments of happy belonging however in this happiness, he too betrays his own people as Janine in 'The Adulterous Woman' does.

All these stories, filled with intensely powerful lyrical prose, explore - what does it mean to be, the dilemma between individual and the community, longing and belonging, speech and silence is explored and imagined throughout the book but not realized, which underlines the absurdness of life to make a choice, absurdness that though we always have different choices at our manifold but we seldom act.
Profile Image for Guille.
786 reviews1,754 followers
March 20, 2023
“Allá, más al sur todavía, en aquel punto en que el cielo y la tierra se juntaban en una línea pura, allá, le parecía de pronto que algo la esperara, algo que ella había ignorado hasta ese día y que sin embargo no había dejado de faltarle”
Este extrañamiento del mundo, este sentimiento de soledad existencial, este exilio permanente que sienten los personajes de Camus en su existir es el hilo que une estos seis cuentos que para mí empezaron de forma sublime con “La mujer adúltera” …
“¿Hay otro amor que no sea el de las tinieblas, un amor que grite a plena luz?”
… para continuar con un monólogo delirante que bien pudiera haber inspirado a Gabo el estilo de El otoño del patriarca en “El renegado o un espíritu confuso”, …
“… el bien es un sueño, un proyecto sin cesar remitido y seguido de un esfuerzo extenuante, un límite que jamás se alcanza, su reino es imposible. Solo el mal puede ir hasta sus límites y reinar absolutamente.”
… y que después de un par de cuentos que no me dijeron mucho, como tampoco lo hizo el que cierra el sexteto, me divirtió mucho la visión humorística del mundo ruidoso, caprichoso, interesado y cruel que rodea a un artista que retrata en su “Jonás o el artista trabajando”.
“Los discípulos de Jonas le explicaban largarmente lo que él había pintado y por qué lo había pintado. Jonas venía a descubrir así en su obra muchas intenciones que le sorprendían un poco y una multitud de cosas que no había puesto en la tela. Se creía pobre y, gracias a sus alumnos, se encontraba de pronto rico. A veces, frente a tantas riquezas hasta entonces desconocidas, lo asaltaba una pizca de orgullo.”
Solo por estos tres relatos que menciono, ganas me dan de otorgarle una estrellita más, pero estoy atravesando una fase tacaña, ya la pasaré.
Profile Image for Rakhi Dalal.
212 reviews1,436 followers
August 8, 2014

This World is man’s place of Exile and yet it is the only Kingdom he knows.*

So while man finds this world an absurd place to live in, a place indifferent to his existence and as cruel as the harsh Sun, where the agony sprawls over like an endless hot desert and the despair is as unbearable as the Algerian heat, man continuously strives to make the best of it, to find a meaning through revolt,freedom and passion.

Exile and The Kingdom, published in 1958 is Camus’ last completely published work before his untimely death in 1960. It is a collection of six short stories by the Nobel Laureate.

A piece of advice before embarking on the reading of this collection: Do read his major works including The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall and The Plague. For, if one is not aware of Camus’ ideas as expressed in these works, it is very likely that one may miss out the core of this collection. Here Camus, in each story and in a very subtle way, builds upon characters in accordance with his ideas.

Since the beginning of time, on the dry earth of this limitless land scraped to the bone, a few men had been ceaselessly trudging, possessing nothing but serving no one, poverty- stricken but free lords of a strange kingdom. Janine did not know why this thought filled her with such a sweet, vast melancholy that it closed her eyes. She knew that this kingdom had been eternally promised her and yet that it would never be hers, never again, except in this fleeting moment perhaps when she opened her eyes again on the suddenly motionless sky and on its waves of steady light, while the voices rising from the Arab town suddenly fell silent. It seemed to her that the world’s course had just stopped and that, from that moment on, no one would ever age any more or die. Everywhere, henceforth, life was suspended—except in her heart, where, at the same moment, someone was weeping with affliction and wonder.

In the first story “The Adulterous Woman”, Janine resembles the absurd hero Meursalt from “The Stranger”, who has discovered the absurd in a fleeting moment and has become aware of the benign indifference of the Universe. Though Janine has always realized the futility of existence, being married to Marcel and looking after his house mindlessly, it is here, in the desert, that she has realized the absurd, after slipping out of bed late at night when her husband is asleep. But as she realizes it, she also comes to understand that she needs the comfort of her husband’s presence in her life to find some sense in the living; the urgency to seek life in a World which offers nothing.

The story “The Renegade” is about a mutilated missionary who came to the salt city of Taghasa to convert its people but who is himself captured and mutilated by Fetish and lives in his imprisonment. This story is a piece of monologue which reminds of “The Fall”. Perhaps it is owing to the fact, that the mutilated part is the tongue, that he cannot actually speak but thinks over in silence. The other reason being that it portrays the inherent evil in a man, who as a priest, dreams of absolute power. Under the confinement he begins to think that only evil is supreme. He then also kills another missionary.

O Fetish, my god over yonder, may your power be preserved, may the offence be multiplied, may hate rule pitilessly over a world of the damned, may the wicked forever be masters, may the kingdom come, where in a single city of salt and iron black tyrants will enslave and possess without pity! And now, gra gra, fire on pity, fire on impotence and its charity, fire on all that postpones the coming of evil….. How pleasant is the sound of a rifle butt on the face of goodness, today, today at last, all is consummated and everywhere in the desert, even hours away from here, jackals sniff the nonexistent wind, then set out in a patient trot toward the feast of carrion awaiting them. Victory! I raise my arms to a heaven moved to pity, a lavender shadow is just barely suggested on the opposite side, O nights of Europe, home, childhood, why must I weep in the moment of triumph?

Turning evil himself he murders. The seed had always been there, in the moments when he wished to kill his own father or reign over the ignorance of people, because he had lost hope in this World and was questioning everything. The struggle seems to point over to the central challenge that Camus poses: “Is it possible to find a rule of conduct outside the realm of religion and its absolute conduct?”

The missionary weeps after killing the other man, an act which portrays his anguish. Towards the end he says:

Cast off that hate-ridden face, be good now, we were mistaken, we’ll begin all over again, we’ll rebuild the city of mercy, I want to go back home. Yes, help me, that’s right, give me your hand.

We witness that though enslaved by evil once, at the heart, he is still hopeful for the future, for a future which will be meaningful, for man will find true happiness. In “The Fall” also, the man constantly struggles to get over that incident where he could save a drowning girl but didn’t and later he realized he would have never done so. For some reasons I was also reminded of “Heart of Darkness” by Conrad here.

Among these stories which also include the stories namely, The Silent Man, The Guest, The Artist at Work and The Growing stone, the last two are my favorites.

"The Artist at Work" is the struggle of an Artist to keep up the reputation of his name as well as producing his paintings. Through this story, the author attacks the world around the artist which keeps flocking at his door, but he also suggests the only way where a man; an artist can find true happiness. This being something he also suggested in The Myth of Sisyphus; the life of an artist, his will to produce art because it is something which gives a meaning to life. But Jonas, whose art and reputation declines as he welcomes more and more people in his life, seems to wonder over what is more important, his art or his commitment towards society.

"Take my word for it,” Jonas said; “I know them. You have to love them.” “And what about you?” Rateau said. “Do you exist? You never say anything bad about anyone.” Jonas began to laugh. “Oh! I often think bad of them. But then I forget.” He became serious. “No, I’m not sure of existing. But someday I’ll exist, I’m sure.”

After days of seclusion, he comes up with a painting, which to his friend, Rateau’s surprise is nothing but a blank canvas with only one word written very minutely – “Solitary or Solidary” but he cannot make out which one. I believe Camus also describes his own struggle as an Artist through this story.

The last story- "The Growing Stone" was the one which prompted much contemplation. D’Arrast, a French Engineer, comes to a town, Iguape in Brazil, for construction of a bridge. He is readily accepted by the important people of the town but the poor people do not trust him. He then meets a cook, who becomes his friend. On the night of dancing, while returning back, he is arrested by the scenery of forest.

The night was full of fresh aromatic scents. Above the forest the few stars in the austral sky, blurred by an invisible haze, were shining dimly. The humid air was heavy. Yet it seemed delightfully cool on coming out of the hut. D’Arrast climbed the slippery slope, staggering like a drunken man in the potholes. The forest, nearby, rumbled slightly. The sound of the river increased. The whole continent was emerging from the night, and loathing overcame D’Arrast. It seemed to him that he would have liked to spew forth this whole country, the melancholy of its vast expanses, the glaucous light of its forests, and the nocturnal lapping of its big deserted rivers. This land was too vast, blood and seasons mingled here, and time liquefied. Life here was flush with the soil, and, to identify with it, one had to lie down and sleep for years on the muddy or dried-up ground itself. Yonder, in Europe, there was shame and wrath. Here, exile or solitude, among these listless and convulsive madmen who danced to die. But through the humid night, heavy with vegetable scents, the wounded bird’s outlandish cry, uttered by the beautiful sleeping girl, still reached his ears.

The innate struggle of a stranger can also be witnessed here. But we also witness a sense of transcendence in the last lines, where the man does try to hold onto something to make a sense, much like as the feelings experienced by Janine in "The Adulterous Woman" where she weeps in the end.

As has been with all the other stories of this collection, stone is an important symbol used here also. In the scene where Cook is to carry a stone (because of his promise) on his back all the way to the Church through the town, I was reminded of Sisyphus’ stone. What really captured my attention was that, D’Arrast, while taking the stone on his shoulders, because he wishes to help his friend, doesn’t proceed to Church but goes straight to Cook’s house and hurl the stone in glowing hearth.

He hastened his pace, finally reached the little square where the cook’s hut stood, ran to it, kicked the door open, and brusquely hurled the stone onto the still glowing fire in the centre of the room. And there, straightening up until he was suddenly enormous, drinking in with desperate gulps the familiar smell of poverty and ashes, he felt rising within him a surge of obscure and panting joy that he was powerless to name.

Does this signify something? Was Camus trying to work another idea here? Critics have, since his death, argued that Camus was onto something in his last works. From silence and solitariness, the condemned man moves on towards solidarity; not being religious, but in the wake of his understanding of absurd. Not giving in to the indifference but seeking a joy in amity. By hurling the stone in hearth, he is letting go off the weight of absurd to make way for a selfless joy. This solidarity is also depicted in The Plague where the doctor dedicates himself to the aid of people suffering from the endemic.

In my view, the stories in this collection, collectively works towards conveying the author’s ideas as he developed from his early works to the later works. It is a beautiful portrayal of an author’s advancement through his life and his attempt at finding that one kingdom where man may no longer feel exiled.


* Source: Anonymous

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews48 followers
February 6, 2021
L'Exil et le Royaume = Exile and the Kingdom, Albert Camus

Exile and the Kingdom is a 1957 collection of six short stories by French writer Albert Camus.

The six works collected in this volume are:
The Adulterous Woman (La Femme adultère)
The Renegade or a Confused Spirit (Le Renégat ou un esprit confus)
The Silent Men (Les Muets)
The Guest (L'Hôte)
Jonas or the Artist at Work (Jonas ou l’artiste au travail)
The Growing Stone (La Pierre qui pousse)

The underlying theme of these stories is human loneliness and feeling foreign and isolated in one's own society. Camus writes about outsiders living in Algeria who straddle the divide between the Muslim world and France.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز پنجم ماه فوریه سال 2020میلادی

عنوانها: «دور از دیار و قلمرو»؛ «تبعید و سلطنت»؛ «مهمان یک داستان کوتاه»؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پنجم ماه فوریه سال 2020میلادی

عنوان: دور از دیار و قلمرو؛ نویسنده: آلبر کامو؛ برگردان: پرویز شهدی؛ تهران، انتشارات مجید (به سخن)؛ 1396؛ در 191ص؛ شابک 9786007987315؛ چاپ دوم 1398؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان فرانسه - سده 20م

عنوان: تبعید و سلطنت؛ نویسنده: آلبر کامو؛ برگردان: م‍ح‍م‍درض‍ا آخ‍ون‍دزاده؛ تهران، ققنوس، 1385؛ در 183ص؛ شابک 9789643116194؛چاپ دوم 1386؛ چاپ سوم 1389؛ چاپ چهارم 1393؛ چاپ چنجم 1397؛

عنوان: تبعید و سلطنت؛ نویسنده: آلبر کامو؛ برگردان: نرگس قندچی؛ تهران، نشر قصه، 1389؛ در 174ص؛ شابک 9646776945؛

عنوان: مهمان؛ نویسنده: آلبر کامو؛ برگردان: صغری حسنلویی؛ زنجان، قلم مهر، 1395؛ در 55ص؛ شابک 9786008494195؛؛

تبعید و سلطنت، یا «دور از دیار و قلمرو»، شش داستان کوتاه، از نویسنده ی «فرانسوی»، «آلبر کامو» هستند؛ که نخستین بار در سال 1957میلادی منتشر شدند؛ مضمون اساسی این داستانها، «تنهایی» و «احساس بیگانگی و انزوای انسان» در جامعه است؛ «کامو» در این داستانها، درباره ی خارجیانی که در «الجزایر» زندگی میکنند، و باعث تشدید اختلاف میان «جهان اسلام» و «فرانسه» میشوند، مینویسند؛ این آثار داستانی، گونه هایی از «اگزیستانسیالیسم»، یا همان «پوچ گرایی» را، پوشش میدهند؛ عنوانهای شش داستان کوتاه این کتاب: «زن زناکار (زن خطاکار)»؛ «مرتد یا روح سردرگم»؛ «مردان خاموش»؛ «مهمان»؛ «هنرمند در حال کار»؛ و «سنگ در حال رشد»؛

داستان‌های این مجموعه، میان عالم رؤیا و واقعیت، در نوسان هستند؛ البته موضوع اصلی، در همه ‌ی آثار «کامو»، مبارزه علیه بیدادگری‌های اجتماع است، حتی رمان «بیگانه» هم، با همه‌ ی بی‌تفاوتی‌ها، و پوچ‌نگرایی‌ها، به شکلی با این طرز فکر او، پیوند دارد؛ شخصیت اصلی، دست‌ پرورده‌ ی همین اجتماعی است، که پول و قدرت، بر آن حکم می‌راند، و اگر چنان ویژگی‌های روحی و اخلاقی، پیدا کرده، به این دلیل است، که جامعه، هیچ انگیزه ‌ای برای علاقمند شدن به زندگی، در اختیار ایشان نگذاشته است

نقل از متن: (زن خطاکار: «مگسی» مُردنی، از چند لحظه پیش، توی اتوبوس، هر چند شیشه هایش بسته بودند، این طرف و آن طرف، میچرخید؛ مزاحم، بیرمق، و بی سر و صدا، پرواز میکرد؛ چند ثانیه ای، از نظر «ژانین» ناپدید شد، بعد آن را دید، که روی دست بیحرکت شوهرش، نشسته؛ هوا سرد بود؛ مگس، با هر هجوم باد، که شنها را، از جا میکند، و به شیشه ها میزد، به خود میلرزید؛ اتوبوس، میان سر و صدای اتاق، و جرق جرق استخوان بندی، و فنرهایش، در نور پریده رنگ صبح زمستان، حرکت میکرد، تلوتلو میخورد، و به دشواری پیش میرفت؛ «ژانین» نگاهی به شوهرش کرد؛ دسته هایی از موهای خاکستری، روی پیشانی تنکش، ریخته بودند، بینی اش پهن، و دهانش کژ و مژ بود، «مارسل»، قیافه ی حیوان عبوسی را، داشت؛ در هر چاله ی توی جاده، «ژانین» احساس میکرد، شوهرش، روی او میافتد؛ سپس دوباره، بالاتنه اش را، روی پاهای از هم جدا گذاشته اش، به حالت تعادل درمیآورد، و بار دیگر، با نگاهی پریشان، بیحرکت میماند؛ فقط دستهای درشت و بی مویش، که آستین بلند بالاپوش فلانلش، مچ هایش را پوشانده بود، به نظر میآمد، در فعالیتند؛ چمدان پارچه ای کوچکی را، که میان زانوهایش، گرفته بود، چنان به شدت میفشرد، که به نظر نمیآمد، حرکت تردیدآمیز مگس را، حس کرده باشد

ناگهان، صدای زوزه ی بلند باد، همراه با غبار مه مانندی، که اتوبوس را، در بر گرفته بود، به وضوح شنیده شد؛ توده های شن، انگار دستهایی ناپیدا، آنها را به سوی اتوبوس، پرتاب کرده باشند، مشت مشت، به شیشه ها میخوردند؛ مگس، بالهای لرزانش را، تکان داد، دستها و پاهایش را، خم کرد، و به پرواز درآمد؛ اتوبوس، حرکتش را، کند کرد، انگار میخواست بایستد؛ سپس به ظاهر، از شدت باد، کاسته شد، مه رقیق، یا در واقع گرد و خاک، کمی فروکش کرد، و اتوبوس، دوباره سرعت گرفت؛ شکافهایی درخشان، در چشم اندازی که، میان گرد و غبار، غرق شده بود، پدیدار شدند؛ دو یا سه درخت خرما، نزار، با تنه های سفید از غبار، چنان خشک، که انگار از فلز تراشیده شده بودند، کنار شیشه ها به چشم خوردند، و بیدرنگ ناپدید شدند

مارسل گفت: چه سرزمین عجیبی!؛

بیشتر مسافرها، «عرب» بودند، توی لباده های کلاهدارشان، فرو رفته بودند، و وانمود میکردند، خوابند؛ بعضیها، روی نیمکتهای اتوبوس، چهارزانو نشسته، و با هر تکان آن، در نوسان بودند؛ سکوت، و حالت بی تفاوتیشان، روی شانه های «ژانین»، سنگینی میکرد: چنین به نظرش میآمد، که با این همسفران خاموش، چندین روز است، که دارد، مسافرت میکند؛ حال آنکه، اتوبوس دو ساعتی بیشتر نمیشد، که از ایستگاهش کنار راه آهن، حرکت کرده بود، و در این صبح سرد، در بیابان برهوت، و جاده ی پر دست انداز، راه میپیمود؛ اگرچه در آغاز سفر، جاده مستقیم بود، و تا افق، و تا جاییکه چشم کار میکرد، دیده میشد؛ اما موقعی که، باد وزیدن گرفت، رفته رفته، دشت بی انتها، و جاده را، بلعید؛ از آن پس، مسافران، دیگر هیچ چیز را، بیرون از اتوبوس، نمیدیدند؛ یکی پس از دیگری، دست از حرف زدن، کشیدند، و انگار، در شبی روشن باشند، به سفرشان، ادامه دادند؛ گهگاهی، دستی به لبها و چشمهاشان، که از غبار نفوذ کرده در اتوبوس، آزرده شده بودند، میکشیدند.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Fernando.
685 reviews1,127 followers
November 17, 2020
Albert Camus, con el correr del tiempo fue transformándose en uno de mis autores preferidos. Notable escritor, que incursionó tanto en la novela, el ensayo y en el teatro, escribió este libro de cuentos que yo no conocía en el año 1957, casualmente el mismo en el que recibió el premio Nobel de literatura tres años antes de que la muerte la arrebatara un futuro brillante, en el que seguramente nos hubiera deleitado con muchas más obras literarias del calibre de sus novelas “La Peste”, “El extranjero” o su ensayos “El hombre rebelde” y “El mito de Sísifo” u obras de teatro de calidad igual o superior a “Los poseídos” o “Calígula”.
En este pequeño libro de cuentos, Camus descolla con seis relatos en donde profundiza la temática que desarrollara puntualmente en sus novelas “El extranjero” y “La peste”, en las cuales se ponen de manifiesto distintos planos de la condición humana, pero haciendo más hincapié en la desesperanza, la miseria y los sueños truncos.
El libro se llama “El exilio y el reino”. Exilio porque los personajes principales de la mayoría de los cuentos atraviesan un exilio, a veces autoimpuesto y en otras ocasiones heredado, de manera tal de que cada personaje principal de los relatos debe atravesarlo.
De esta manera, Janine en el primer cuento “La adúltera” sufre el exilio de un ciudad agobiada por el calor siguiendo a su marido de toda la vida, buscando el reino tan lejano para ella: el de la libertad.
En otros cuentos, como en “Los mudos”, los empleados de una fábrica sostienen una confrontación peleando por el reino de una mejora laboral y en “El renegado o un espíritu confundido”, el personaje principal, que parece surgido de la cruza del “Hombre del subsuelo” de Dostoievski con “El innombrable” de Becket lucha por vengarse de las torturas de una secta que lo tiene prisionero imponiendo su nueva ley proclamada.
“El huésped” es otro excelente relato en donde el personaje principal, Daru, debe decidir qué hacer con un prisionero árabe al que tiene que entregar poniendo en la balanza sus ideales. Ambos personajes, exiliados a su manera, entablarán una extraña relación.
Para mí, el mejor cuento de todos es “Jonás o el artista en el trabajo”. Es un relato que posee ribetes kafkianos, en primer lugar por la manera en que está relatado, muy a la usanza del escritor checo, dado que el ambiente en que vive Jonás es opresivo, atestado de gente y en el que de todas maneras tiene que trabajar. Y diría que el final también tiene características kafkianas, de esos que lo dejan pensando a uno. Al menos eso me parece a mí. Puede que otros lectores no piensen lo mismo.
El nivel de introspección que Camus utiliza para los personajes es excelente y no sólo trabaja el existencialismo que le supo imprimir a ellos, sino que expone las diferentes actitudes del hombre ante el conocimiento de su propia condición, necesidades, deseos y esperanzas.
Albert Camus es un escritor que supo diferenciarse rápidamente del resto por ser original y es esta una condición destacable que en la literatura es copiada por algunos escritures que nunca pudieron acceder a semejante nivel de calidad narrativa.
Profile Image for Tara.
437 reviews19 followers
May 15, 2018
“Anger and helplessness sometimes hurt so much that you can’t even cry out.”

Exile and the Kingdom is a collection of six short stories by Albert Camus. While these tales were brimming with vivid, powerful prose, and Camus’ distinctive flavor of Absurdism was a delight to reconnect with, overall I found the actual plots and characters fairly unremarkable, some even downright forgettable. The collection wasn’t a bad one by any means, but it ultimately failed to really grab me or to leave a lasting impression. I’d only recommend it for those who are already acquainted with his more popular works and find themselves in need of just one more Camus fix. (But even then, I’d say you’re probably better off opting to reread The Stranger or The Fall instead.)
Profile Image for Sarah.
329 reviews161 followers
October 7, 2020
His work never fails to impress me. Camus’ collection of six short stories are about people who just want to find a place where they belong, a ‘kingdom’ (home) where they feel as though their ‘exile’ will end and feel meaning/security in their lives. The stories (and my interpretation of each one) are as follows:

The Adulterous Woman:

This is a tale about the inner turmoil of the “woman” (Janine) rather than the act of physical adultery. It is a day of crisis for a middle-aged wife, whilst on a trip with her husband (Marcel) to flog his wares, who has had no reason to question her existence before. It is symbolic adultery, rather than the actual physical act, towards her husband because of her desire to escape from him and the realisation that she has been trapped in a loveless marriage for 20 years.

The Renegade (or a Confused Spirit):

Different to Camus’ usual writing style, it consists of the rambling, disjointed sentences of a man gone mad. The bizarreness makes it quite difficult to follow and interpret to begin with.
The protagonist appears to be pushed into searching for a “good/happy death” to add meaning to his suffering and to find closure. It presents the idea of following religion as absurd. I took it to be about the protagonist accepting his suffering and eventual death, and not using faith as a “way out”.

The Silent Men:

This story seems to be very much a commentary on the ageing process and how so many of us basically work ourselves to death. There is a sense of powerlessness running throughout. The business is doomed to fail, the main character is doomed to die. It has yet to happen, but there is nothing they can do but ride the storm out. The characters are frustrated with their mortality and their careers. They don’t directly communicate how they feel amongst themselves, but it is known because it is inevitable.

The Guest (Or The Host):

A schoolmaster (Daru) is visited by two guests, a man named Balducci and a prisoner (who isn’t named).
It becomes clear that Daru sympathises with the native Arabs and that he would very much like to let this prisoner go. This would also relieve him of tasks asked of him against his will.
The story ends with Daru pointing the man in either the direction of his imprisonment, or a place where he shall find shelter and solace with his people. It is up to the prisoner to make that choice. Whereas, Daru will be left all on his own.

Jonas (or The Artist At Work):

“Take me up and cast me forth into the sea... for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.”
Jonas I.12

Jonas; the famous painter, a child of divorced parents. He just moved into an apartment with his partner Louise and their three children. He soon amasses a small group of disciples/pupils which he inspires with his art. Yet despite his surroundings, he suffers an existential crisis which makes him question the meaning of his life, as one does.
He remains humble as his star rises, and he is a people pleaser. This results in him eventually retreating from society.
It highlights the paradox of us needing a sense of belonging and to communicate with others, whilst simultaneously desiring a sense of freedom and being solitary.

The Growing Stone:

This story, set so differently to the others in this collection, again highlights Camus’ opinion that religion en-masse has a detrimental effect on people.
It is very much a journey of self discovery for the main character (D’Arrast) as his driver (Socrates) tells him the tale of “The Growing Stone”.

The ending of “The Growing Stone” finally gives us readers the sense that one of the characters (D’Arrast) has actually been able to overcome the feeling of exile prevalent in each tale. He has reached the ‘kingdom’, he has found home.
Profile Image for فايز غازي Fayez Ghazi .
Author 2 books3,927 followers
August 7, 2023
بدأت قراءة هذه القصص في "الغريب وقصص أخرى" (ترجمة عايدة إدريس)، لكن الكوارث في الترجمة دفعتني الى قراءة متوازية بين العربية والفرنسية حيث اتضح بشكل جلي الحاجة الماسة لإعادة ترجمة هذه الأعمال الى اللغة العربية، حيث ان سوء الترجمة لا يقتصر على ثقلها وقدمها بل يتعداه الى تغيير المعنى.

المراجعات المنفردة للقصص:

The Growing Stone
The Silent Men
The Renegade or a Confused Spirit
The Guest
227 reviews110 followers
September 11, 2020
انقدر خوب بود که تعجب میکنم چه‌طور هیچ‌وقت وصفی از این کتاب نشنیده بودم.
Profile Image for Kuszma.
2,279 reviews171 followers
January 11, 2020
Hat elbeszélés a magányról. De hát mi másról írhatna egy egzisztencialista? A kiscicás történetek, úgy fest, nem kompatibilisek ezzel a filozófiai rendszerrel. (Bár el tudok képzelni novellát egy parttalan magányra ítélt kiscicáról. Ami azonban még megírásra vár.) Igazából csak egy történet nem tetszett: a Jonas, avagy a mester dolgozik c. opusz, amit nem is igen tudtam mire vélni, egy erős lezáráshoz vezető vontatott és jobbára érdektelen felvezetésnek éreztem. Viszont amikor Camus szereplőinek egzisztenciális magánya a gyarmatosító magányával párosul a gyarmatosítottak között, az mindig nagyon izgalmas. Láthatólag nagyon foglalkoztatja őt ez: hogy az európai ember a maga európaias kultúrájával milyen számkivetett tud lenni azok között, akiket pedig meghódított és uralma alá hajtott. De ezt az uralmat a hajára kenheti, mint ahogy hajára kenheti (gyakran ambivalens) vonzalmát is Algéria iránt, mert ez a vonzalom egyoldalú, sosem képes megrepeszteni a kitaszítottság burkát. Mondhatnánk, Camus algériai franciái olyan urak, akik - legalábbis időnként, lelkük mélyén - jobb szeretnének a szolgák közösségéhez tartozni, de a szolgák közössége túl finnyás ahhoz, hogy befogadja őket. Ez maradt nekik fegyverül - hogy kitaszíthatnak.

Ui.: Érdekes, hogy az utolsó elbeszélés lezárásában (Az eleven kő) a kibékíthetetlen ellentét - SPOILER! -mintha feloldást nyerne. Ez talán valamiféle bolond reményt tükrözhet, hogy a kultúrák között azért kialakulhat valamiféle párbeszéd. Persze ez az optimizmus - az életmű egészét tekintve - inkább csak egyszeri felvillanás, nem trend.
Profile Image for Michael.
55 reviews16 followers
February 15, 2009
In "An Experiment in Criticism", Lewis argues that the only way to truly understand a book the reader must surrender to it and to the author's vision. This can be fairly easy when the reader and the author are coming from similar worldviews, but not when they are meeting head on from opposite ends of the spectrum. This is the challenge I face when reading Camus. Our worldviews are so different that reading his work is an exhausting experience. It is a constant struggle to surrender to his vision, which is deeply disturbing.

The stories in "Exile and the Kingdom" reflect, as they must, Camus' belief that life and the universe are meaningless, and that the fundamental desire for humankind is to find meaning. The absurdity of life comes from the clash of these two realities. The best one can do in life is to understand and live in this conflict without seeking a way out.

The characters that fill the pages of these stories are all in different stages of understanding the absurdity of life, but all of them are caught in the conflict. We meet, among others, a desperately unfulfilled wife, a group of men caught in dead-end careers, a man who nearly dies in his attempt to subvert the religious experiences and commitments of others, all of them arriving at a point where the absurdity is revealed to them clearly for the first time. The circumstances of the revelation are different for each; an encounter with the infinite, indifferent evil, empty labor, but the result is similar. Men and women alike must come to grips with meaninglessness in their particular lives and decide what to do with this knowledge.

Camus writes beautifully. His characters (with some exceptions) are tragic heroes and heroines who face his ultimate truth with a stoic dignity and courage. There is no deus ex machina to save them. If we submit to Camus' vision, we must admire them and sympathize with them. To the extent that I can enter into his world, they have my sympathy and I long to comfort them. But there is no comfort in the world of Camus, something he admits readily in his non-fiction, so we must leave the adulterous woman, the artist, the engineer, and the teacher to their despair. Camus would not have it any other way.
Profile Image for Arman.
284 reviews198 followers
August 25, 2019
در این سرزمین، شهرها بودند که بدنیا می آمدند، جلوه ای کوتاه و بي اثر از خود به نمایش می گذاشتند و خیلی زود از پهنه بیرحم آن سرزمین ناپدید می شدند. انسان ها هم همین سرگذشت را تا رسیدن به همین سرنوشت طی می کردند. به هم عشق می ورزیدند یا گلوی هم را می جویدند و بالاخره می مردند.
در این صحرا، هیچ کس، نه او و نه مهمانش هیچ چیز به شمار نمی آمدند، و مع الوصف، خارج از همین صحرای بیرحم، هم برای او و هم برای دیگران، زندگی خالی از معنا به نظر می رسید.

(صفحه ۸۷)

مجموعه داستانی از آلبر کامو که شخصیت هایش درست مثل خود آقای نویسنده و البته مورسوي "بيگانه"، اروپایی تبارهای ساکن و بزرگ شده در الجزایر هستند.
کامو در این داستان ها به ایده هایی مانند تنهایی، انزوا در جمع، تقابل اخلاقیات و قانون، و تقابل ایمان و شرک می پردازد.

از بین این داستان ها، من "مرتد یا ضمیر سرگردان" را پسندیدم که بدلیل زبان راوی اول شخص آن بریده بریده و آشفته و گنگ، ساختاری پیچیده تر پیدا کرده است.
این داستان، روایتگر مبلغ کاتولیکی ست که به شهری دورافتاده می رود تا مردمان بت پرست آن جا را به راه راست هدایت کند...

پ. نوشت: نمی دانم چرا این کتاب باوجود داشتن مضامین اگزیستانسیالیستی، نسبت به کتاب های دیگر کامو کمتر مورد توجه خوانندگان ایرانی قرار گرفته است.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,496 reviews2,383 followers
April 5, 2017
A collection of six short stories that contain all the characteristics those familiar with Camus would come to expect, there is mixed bag here with some simple to read and others with more complexity and depth. the first two "The Adulterous Woman" and "The Renegade" have a desert setting, it's barrenness brings about wonder and madness, "The Artist At Work" works as a mini statement about coping with love, "The Silent Men" and "The Guest" have the theme of compassion and man's need to find comfort with each other, and finally "The Growing Stone" follows a French engineer in Brazil to build a flood defense wall but lands in hot bother with the locals (my favourite). With them only being brief and not as good as of his more expansive work I would say this is suited better for the diehard fans, luckily I am one of them.
Profile Image for Katayoon.
133 reviews63 followers
October 12, 2021
روایتی از انزوا در سبک‌های مختلف...
کتاب شامل شش داستان کوتاه می‌باشد.
Profile Image for Gary.
124 reviews16 followers
June 28, 2023
A great few short stories. There is something for anyone who has felt torn from their passions (or homeland, as in Camus’s case). Camus has captured the essence and feeling of being exiled masterfully and I think each story is a reflection of Camus’s mixed feelings towards his homeland (Northern Africa) and his heritage (France).

Camus was one of the few masters of his craft and the artistic ability shows through the absurdity of his stories, which is what I’m sure he was going for, as he pointed out that good writing is more about ideas than just the ability to think up a decent plot (thinking of Melville, Kafka, Dostoyevski etc.), which we are all capable of doing, ergo anyone can write a story but very few can make it a piece of art (paraphrased from Absurd Creation, an essay from in The Myth of Sisyphus book).

That’s all I can think of for now might edit and grammar check it later lol.
Profile Image for Erik Graff.
5,031 reviews1,168 followers
November 9, 2020
Albert Camus had an immense influence on me during adolescence. This is strange in that nowadays I don't think he would have much impact. At that time, however, I recognized my apprehensions articulated in his voice and in the voices of some of his characters, particularly the doctor in 'The Plague'.

In the sixties one heard about Camus everywhere. My first direct exposure was the typical one: The Stranger was assigned reading for an English class. Intrigued by that and by what I heard from the teacher and others, I went on to read, and be very impressed by, 'The Plague'--so impressed that I read it twice within the space of just a couple of years.

Camus was, of course, a transitional figure. Like Dad, he was of the generation that defeated Nazism. Unlike Dad, he articulated what might be learned from that. The articulation of what I had thought, but too often found unspoken, the articulation of the horrors humans have wrought and which I could imagine, the articulation of the ethical implications of atheism, the articulation of the thoughts of suicide and of both the fear and the exhilarating freedom so entailed--all of this was welcome at such an age. Here was a man who spoke truth to boys such as myself. Here, in his truthfulness, was some reason to have hope that not everything, not everyone was entirely false or lost.
Profile Image for Scarlet.
27 reviews8 followers
June 13, 2012
So I start reading this book and I’m like “oh this is nice, let me put my Casa Blance lens on.” I am happily reading along, when all of a sudden, I’m like:



How did I get here?

And it is not just the first short story; it all of them! I had to read it once, twice, and then go back and review and try to understand and read between the lines.

So check it, in my opinion, all the stories have to be taken as one ongoing theme: An individual who finds himself displaced in some other country; falls in love with the culture and because they love it more they love it more than his native land—Adulterous wife. There is a moral conflict regarding loyalty, the nostalgia and melancholia of wanting to belong but not fully reaching full acknowledgement. That is the in between, until finally finding “home” amongst the natives…
I did give it 5 stars because of the authors ability to manipulate my thoughts…this is by no means meant to be passive reading. The book is short and could be great for book club discussions…

Hope this helps

Profile Image for Adriana.
183 reviews70 followers
August 25, 2019
Povestirea preferata: "Jonas sau Artistul la lucru". Cea care mi-a placut cel mai putin: "Piatra care creste".
Profile Image for Andrei Tamaş.
438 reviews292 followers
December 15, 2015
Opera lui Camus nu are niciun raţionament (sau dacă are, el este -prin cuvintele autorului, după cum vorbeşte în "Mitul lui Sisif"- un "raţionament absurd". De aceea opera lui Camus nu este una metodică, ea neavând un sistem după care avea să fie scrisă. Ea, opera, ilustrează impecabil absurdul, faptul că viaţa e absurdă şi, prin urmare, niciun raţionament nu-şi are rostul... Camus -oricât de paradoxal ar părea!- a fost un om foarte sensibil, iar asta în ciudată stilului său de viaţă vulgar. Grenier, un prieten foarte bun al filosofului existenţialist, spunea: "Camus a luptat nu numai împotriva lenei de a gândi (opera sa este ca o beţie a lucidităţii), ci mai degrabă s-a împotrivit lenei de a simţi. N-a obosit niciodată luptând, fiindcă n-a obosit niciodată iubind."
Profile Image for Czarny Pies.
2,533 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2023
L’exil et le royaume est un des livres essentiels d’Albert Camus. Il faut le lire après L’étranger et La Peste afin de voir la vision complète de l’homme engagé de Camus dans la conjoncture politique qui prévalait à son époque. Aux yeux de Camus l’homme ne devait pas rester neutre dans les luttes politiques mais participer activement pour la bonne cause; c’est dire pour la classe ouvrière contre les patrons et pour les gens du tier monde contre les puissances impériales. Parmi d’autres choses Camus se croyait obligé d’appuyer le FLN de l’Algérie contre la France malgré le fait qu’il était membre de la communauté française de l’Algérie.
Dans le premier conte, La femme adultère Camus nous présente une femme malheureuse et frustrée sexuellement parce qu’elle a pour mari un boutiquier qui dévoué à ses ambitions extrêmement médiocres. Le concept est banal mais le texte est superbement.
Le renégat raconte la vie d’un prêtre qui s’en va en Afrique afin de convertir les païens. Il est engagé mais sa cause est mauvaise. Il finit mal.
Les muets parle des suites d’une grève dans une tonnellerie algérienne. Les ouvriers sont mal payés mais le patron n’est pas un monstre. Parce le marché des tonneaux est en chute libre, il n’a vraiment pas les moyens de payer ses employés davantage.
L’hôte est considéré comme un chef d’œuvre. L’action se déroule pendant la guerre le Libération nationale de l’Algérie. La police demande à un instituteur français dans un village éloigné de conduire un prisonnier arabe à la plus proche prison. L’instituteur veut s’en laver les mains comme Ponce Pilate et apprend trop tard que ce n’est pas possible.
Jonas est l’histoire d’un peintre qui se laisse mener par le bout de nez par son agent, sa femme et les membres de son entourage. Il est déchiré entre deux options : la solitude ou la solidarité. Il meurt avant de prendre sa décision.
La pierre qui pousse est une fable qui renverse le Château de Kafka. Le protagoniste, un ingénieur français arrive à une ville côtière brésilienne avec le but de construire une digue. Contrairement à K, l’arpenteur-protagoniste qui reste un étranger dans sa ville d’accueil, D’Arrast, le protagoniste de Camus réussir à se faire une place. Le moyen est l’engagement. Il rejette le Christianisme obscurantiste et bourgeois et se rallie à la cause ouvrière. Ainsi le recueil de finit sur une note optimiste.
L’exil et le royaume est une relique de l’époque où on croyait qu’un front commun entre les prolétaires des pays riches et les colonisés du tier monde devait mener à un meilleur avenir pour l’humanité. C’était une absurdité mais une absurdité très bien défendue par Camus. L’exil et le royaume est un des livres incontournables de l’après-guerre.
Profile Image for Andrew.
586 reviews128 followers
December 24, 2020
I love Camus (The Stranger, The Plague and The Fall, in that order), but this one left me unimpressed. "The Adulterous Woman" felt like a less vivid version of the already-too-depressing The Sheltering Sky, and "The Renegade" was almost incomprehensible. I liked the last four stories more, with "The Guest" and "The Artist at Work" being my favorites, but they were still pretty hollow reading experiences. Granted, the subject matter is as bleak as Camus's worldview, but all of his other fictional works are significantly more interesting while dealing with the same overarching perspective. I wanted to give this 3 stars just because that's how much I love and respect Camus as both writer and philosopher, but if I'm grading this specific book honestly I have to give it only 2, and risk the wrath of those more intellectual than I.

Not Bad Reviews

Profile Image for Tej.
19 reviews104 followers
March 18, 2012
Personaly I love Camus and this flavour of writing. . . The writing, which is for its own sake. . . Pure, artistic and honest. . . Each story is like a painting that etches itself permanently n vividly in one's memory. . . The setting is so important as are the characters with their conscientious n existential struggles, their paradoxes n dilemas, that are too real and near to one's ownself rendering these characters unforgettable. . . The open end is always amenable to one's own interpretation which is individualistic, varied as well as unique. . . Camus in never in a hurry to 'say it', rather lets it percolate through a tapestry of weighty, artistically structured sentences! And that is the very hallmark beauty of Camus. . .! But Camus is 'for everyone' and 'not for all' - at the same time !!! For me, Camus wil b always d one I adore and would be revisiting him and that too not once !!! Recommended with double thumbs up !!!
Profile Image for Guillermo Castro.
155 reviews56 followers
July 11, 2019
La idea que personalmente tenía del escritor argelino-francés era la de un filósofo ensayista que tuvo a bien escribir algunas novelas. No tenía noticia de su obra como dramaturgo, sus innumerables escritos periodísticos y su único libro de cuentos titulado "El exilio y el reino", este último publicado en 1957 tres años antes de su prematura muerte.

En esta reseña veremos: ¿Qué tan buena es la obra cuentística de Camús? ¿Merece este libro ser considerado entre sus obras más destacadas?

El volumen consta de seis cuentos, ninguno de ellos con una extensión menor a las veinte páginas. Así que podemos empezar diciendo que el estilo se inclina por detallar todos los elementos considerados importantes, tanto en la ambientación externa como en el mundo interior de sus personajes. Algunas historias se ubican en Argelia o en otros lugares de Africa del norte, por lo que el lector deberá confrontarse con un entorno desértico, climas extremosos y personajes exóticos, entiendase por ello árabes arropados en túnicas (que la traducción de Alianza llama "chilabas"). Sólo un par de cuentos están ambientados en Francia con un ambiente más citadino y moderno.

Veamos uno por uno:

"La mujer adúltera" es apenas la primera muestra de esta colección y nos introduce al estilo minucioso del autor, con una estética pletórica que por fortuna no llega a ser demasiado confusa. Camus escribe con limpieza y precisión notables, pero le gusta mucho pormenorizar; por consiguiente, nuestra lectura debe ser lenta y comprometida. El título parece ser demasiado severo con una protagonista que vive una significativa situación de abandono afectivo por parte de su marido. El cuento tiene el acierto de no condenar ni disculpar a esa mujer, sino simplemente exponer los hechos; especialmente cuando no queda claro que ella cometa un acto reprobable.

"El renegado o un espíritu confuso" es el cuento más complejo y arriesgado de este volumen pero también uno de los mejores. Sus primeros párrafos son demoledores por la técnica sofisticada y la ferocidad de los hechos narrados. Trata sobre un misionero católico con un insensato y autodestructivo espíritu fundamentalista que decide convertir almas en una zona especialmente hostil. Al enfrentarse con el iracundo rechazo, su personalidad ingenua se transforma radicalmente siendo cooptado: el misionero en lugar de convertir es convertido, poniéndose al servicio de la barbarie. Camus tiene la virtud de ilustrar como la violencia envilece tanto a victimas como victimarios por muy religiosas que sus creencias puedan ser. En esta terrible historia hemos de destacar la originalidad, el ritmo y el orden impecable con el que está escrita. Es posible que García Márquez haya tomado inspiración de esta narración corta, una de las más potentes que haya leído últimamente.

"Los mudos" nos presenta un tema más mundano y un tanto inesperado; habla de un conflicto obrero-patronal visto desde todas sus aristas (excepto la estrictamente política, lo cual es de agradecer). La humanidad de los personajes y sus reacciones tanto de ira como de bondad quedan registradas con una admirable y sobrecogedora sensibilidad; aunque los seres humanos no seamos capaces de impartir una verdadera justicia, la vida no tiene favoritismos y puede ser muy difícil para cualquiera. Excelente cuento.

Para comprender "El huésped" necesitamos ubicarnos en el contexto histórico. En la época de Camus la nación Argelina aún era una colonia francesa, pero se encontraba en el peligroso periodo pre-revolucionario. No era extraño encontrarse con policias o militares conduciendo prisioneros árabes de un lado a otro. En esta narración uno de esos reos queda bajo custodia de un humilde maestro rural totalmente ajeno a la política, lo cual le significa una situación incómoda y además un problema moral; sobre todo porque el prisionero no despliega una verdadera personalidad criminal. Por su parte, el autor despliega esa eminente sensatez que le impide generalizar, politizar y hacer juicios sumarios sobre sus personajes. Un buen escritor debe ser apolítico, amoral y estar libre de todo prejuicio.

"Jonás o el artista trabajando" retoma el tópico que ha sido desarrollado por muchos otros escritores (el arte, la inspiración y el papel del artista en la sociedad) pero le otorga un tratamiento novedoso. De nueva cuenta, el protagonista presenta una psicología muy bien construida; se trata de un joven que al ser hijo único de padres permisivos tiende a idealizar su porvenir. A veces las personas con "buena estrella" no son más que egocentristas que saben rodearse de las personas adecuadas; es decir, las que podrían sacrificarse y sobrellevar su individualismo. El conflicto surge cuando el artista sufre la crisis de inspiración y se ve obligado a recapitular y a enfrentarse consigo mismo. El narrador es muy irónico (quasi-británico al estilo del mejor Dickens o Wilde), capaz de describir de manera amable lo que en realidad es un caos. Por último, este cuento nos introduce a aquella famosa frase que distinguió a Camus: "Solitario o solidario".

El cuento final "La piedra que crece" es una narración más oscura que termina brillando como un sol. Ofrece una técnica experimental en la que el narrador se ocupa más de los detalles secundarios que de los hechos principales. Esto propicia que el lector tenga que deducir los incidentes por sí mismo. No será sino hasta muy entrado el relato cuando podrá identificarse la trama; Camus nos habla de un ingeniero francés que en circunstancias turbias (notaremos un fuerte tufo a corrupción) es llevado para construir un dique en un marginado pueblo costero de Brasil. En ese ambiente afro en donde se fusionan las creencias primitivas con el cristianismo (y se practican rituales plenos de rusticidad y sincretismo) aparece un nativo ofreciendo cumplir una arriesgada penitencia. La inspiración de su sacrificio es una supuesta piedra milagrosa que en esas tierras se venera con ardiente fervor. En el ideal de un filósofo no existen los milagros. Sin embargo, hay ciertas situaciones en las que surge el sentimiento humano de compasión y de solidaridad desinteresada, los cuales constituyen el verdadero (y quizás el único) milagro de que la humanidad es capaz de generar.

En resumen, tenemos un potente libro de cuentos que nos ofrece un estilo moderno con temáticas harto interesantes. Destacan "Los mudos", "Jonás", "El renegado" y el brillante tramo final de "La piedra que crece". Es una pena que nuestro escritor haya encontrado la muerte siendo aún relativamente joven, pues poseía todas las cualidades literarias para prolongar una brillante carrera como cuentista. Seguramente nos hubiera legado más libros de cinco estrellas, como "El exilio y el reino".
Profile Image for Suhaib.
241 reviews82 followers
November 20, 2020
Six separate stories with main characters who are dealing with existential angst in its many forms. Other common threads between the stories are estrangement and loneliness—loneliness among friends, family, partners, and society at large.

The Adulterous Wife
Here we meet Janine, married to Marcel for some time, and now struggling with feelings of estrangement from her husband and everyone around her. Janine is also tormented in reminiscence over what she deems as her lost youth. Her existence is so intermeshed with that of her husband that at one point she ruminates: “he made her existence real.”

The Renegade, or A Confused Mind
Probably the most obscure story in the book, the renegade is a Catholic missionary who is captured by some tribe in the desert. He ends up in the service of the tribe’s Fetish after being severely tormented and his tongue cut. He sets up in a den planning to kill another missionary who is coming to the area.

The Voiceless
Here we follow the story of Yvars, a worker in a cooper’s shop, after he goes on a strike with his colleagues in the hopes of getting their salaries raised. The strike fails and we see them back in the shop, all with heavy feelings against the owner, who sincerely tries to make amends and raise their spirits by promising that if their productivity increases and yields in more revenue, he will increase their payments without even being asked. An accident that involves the owner’s daughter then occurs … and the men refuse to pay their owner any help or words of condolence.

The Guest
Here we follow the story of Daru after a prisoner is left in his custody. Daru finds himself practically forced to turn the man in…

Jonas, or The Artist at Work
The story of an artist who becomes increasingly absorbed in his work that he starts feeling estranged from his wife and kids…

The Growing Stone
Here we see an absurdist engineer called D’Arrast carrying out a moral deed for a friend…
Profile Image for Edita.
1,402 reviews425 followers
April 5, 2015
Since the beginning of time, on the dry earth of this limitless land scraped to the bone, a few men had been ceaselessly trudging, possessing nothing but serving no one, poverty-stricken but free lords of a strange kingdom. Janine did not know why this thought filled her with such a sweet, vast melancholy that it closed her eyes. She knew that this kingdom had been eternally promised her and yet that it would never be hers, never again, except in this fleeting moment perhaps when she opened her eyes again on the suddenly motionless sky and on its waves of steady light, while the voices rising from the Arab town suddenly fell silent. It seemed to her that the world’s course had just stopped and that, from that moment on, no one would ever age any more or die. Everywhere, henceforth, life was suspended — except in her heart, where, at the same moment, someone was weeping with affliction and wonder.
Profile Image for Tim.
298 reviews298 followers
July 28, 2011
Albert Camus’s existentialism is sometimes described as having more hope than some of his other contemporaries. One thing is certain, Camus has a way of presenting real life that causes the reader to become AWARE. By aware, I mean aware of where they are while reading Camus; aware of their own vision of life; aware of their individual mindset in relation to Camus. The author has a way of presenting life at its most raw and foundational level. My own mindset caused me to look at how the role of balance/homeostasis/opposites played into this collection of stories, and how our most basic desires, feelings and emotions play into every decision that we make. To me, Camus’s characters were all on a search for something, and they were willing to go to any length to find it, including against their own societal-conditioned mores. Yet Camus pushes beyond that, and challenges us to not only resist the old assumptions, but to create entirely new paradigms. Resistance within a system is good, but it ultimately achieves nothing if it does not change the very system itself. From the question of what it means to be faithful to yourself, to who is one’s brother, to the way we apply externalities to people and the way we tend to keep them there, to what it means to give of one’s self, yet have a “self” to give, to the commonalities we share with those who appear most foreign to us, this book’s stories seem to contain elements that can stir up virtually any emotion. It is the kind of book that calls for a re-read at different phases of life, and perhaps can be most appreciated the more it is read in the constantly evolving and changing context of one’s life.
September 26, 2017
!Camus es una vez más increíble!
De esta colección de seis relatos, hubo tres que me impactaron:
- La mujer adúltera;
- El renegado o un espíritu confuso;
- Jonás o el artista trabajando.

En el caso del primero, es fascinante porque crees que el texto hablará sobre perfidias, infidelidades, idilios o cosas así, pero trata más bien de la lucha contra esos obstáculos infranqueables de la mera existencia, de esta manera, huyendo hacia la luna, la noche, la soledad, a la propia voz, al eco del alma.
El renegado corresponde a una persona espiritual, la cual expone un conflicto en su accionar, siendo así el hombre libre que decide sin importar la consecuencia; el razonamiento terminará en una condición non sequitur, donde la existencia carece de decisión precisa, correcta.
Jonás, basta con decir que fue algo parecido a leer "El artista del hambre" de Kafka.
Profile Image for Pawit Mahattanasing.
85 reviews27 followers
December 15, 2019
อ่านเรื่องแรกจบเหวอไปเลยครับ ไม่เข้าใจว่าจะสื่ออะไร 555+ อ่านซ้ำอีกรอบก็ไม่เข้าใจอยู่ดี เลยทิ้งไว้นานเลย แล้วกลับมาอ่านเรื่องที่สอง ก็ยังไม่เข้าใจ พออ่านเรื่องที่สาม เออเรื่องนี้เข้าใจง่ายกว่าและสนุกกว่าสองเรื่องแรกด้วย ค่อยกระจ่างขึ้นมาหน่อย ก็เลยไปอ่านบทวิเคราะห์ท้ายเล่ม อธิบายละเอียดมาก หลังจากนั้นก็อ่านสนุกทุกเรื่อง

ปกติผมไม่ชอบอ่านเรื่องสั้น แต่อ่านแล้วได้เรียนรู้วิธีคิดวิธีอ่าน ที่ไม่เหมือนการอ่านนิยายเรื่องยาวที่เราอ่านไปก็ค่อยๆ คิดตามไป แต่เรื่องสั้นเหตุการณ์หรือสถานการณ์ต่างๆ จะผ่านไปเร็วมาก บางทีข้อความที่เป็นส่วนประกอบเล็กๆ น้อยๆ ที่อ่านผ่านๆ เห��ือนไม่สลักสำคัญอะไร ก็กลับเป็นชิ้นส่วนที่จะต้องนำไปใช้ปะติดปะต่อกับเนื้อหาส่วนต่อๆ ไป ซึ่งถ้าระหว่างอ่านคว้าจับไอ้ชิ้นส่วนนี้ไว้ไม่ได้ พอถึงเวลาที่ต้องใช้ก็จะไม่เก็ต จึงต้องใช้สมาธิในการอ่านมากหน่อย แบบปล่อยผ่านไม่ได้
Displaying 1 - 30 of 701 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.