Michaeldgriffiths's Blog
One's man Chaos is another person's Entertainment

The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague was written by the introspective Algerian author, Albert Camus. Camus is a well-respected author from the first half of the 20th century. I had never read anything by him, and since we are still living through a pandemic, I figured why not read his classic work, The Plague.

Genre:  Literary Fiction

Publisher: The Modern Library

Released:  1947

Stars:  4 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Camus explores the subject of how humans react when their structured society is knocked on its side by a horrid plague. People are not prepared to be faced with the sudden deaths and quarantine. Free travel is suspended and most employment ceases. He delves into how humans react when their organized life is thrown a chaos curve ball.

The story digs deeper into several human archetypes and themes. Does absence make the heart grow fonder? What is the effect on man when continuously confronted with his mortality? How can religion be flexible enough to justify its existence during such times of misery.

One of the more profound messages for me was the gentlemen who attempted suicide early in the novel. The layers of his rigid culture had left him unsatisfied and unable to move on. Yet as the plague began, and normal expectations were put on hold, he flourished. Later when the rules and normalcy returned, he rebelled and could not return to that ‘real world.’

This novel is a classic, but for modern readers it might seem a bit slow. Characters come and go throughout, often without their experience completely explained. The messages are profound, but not obvious, and finding their meaning does take some work.

I found this older view on the plague compared to how people are reacting to Covid an interesting look at how much our cultures have changed in less than a hundred years. Might be a good book to dive into before Covid is over. Sigh, if it ever will be.

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