Man in a Vacuum

THE STRANGER (154 pp.)—Albert Camus—Translated by Stuart Gilber—Knopf ($2).

The latest highbrow buzz-fuzz is something called "existentialism" (TIME, Jan. 28). This short novel by 32-year-old French philosopher-journalist Albert Camus may help to clear the fog.

Camus, who is now on a U.S. lecture tour, has denied that he is an existentialist. He is nevertheless closely identified with this French literary cult, and The Stranger is right in its groove: "existential" pessimism underlines every cold, gross, irrational detail of the story.

Camus' point seems to be that the world makes no sense, that life as it has to be lived by human...

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