The Guest

PDF EBook by Albert Camus

EBook Description

Unlike his three well- PDFknown novels – ‘The Stranger’, ‘The Plague’ and ‘The Fall’, all written with a 1st person narrator, Albert Camus’s ‘The Guest’ has an objective 3rd person narrator telling the tale. The Guest PDF EBookEasily located as an on-line PDF, ‘The Guest’ can be read in less than an hour, a story written in 29 short paragraphs, each paragraph sectioned off with its own paragraph number, giving the impression Camus wanted to clearly delineate his existential musings at each point in the story.

The story begins when the main character, a schoolmaster by the name of Daru, watches from his empty schoolhouse built on a steep hillside in the Algerian desert as two men approach,one an oldgendarme (French police officer) on horseback and the other an Arab walking with his hands bound by a rope.Once they are all seated in the schoolroom, Daru asks where the two of them are headed.The old gendarme, Balducci by name, a man Daru has known for a long time, tells Daru how it is with him and the Arab.Here are Camus’s words:

"No. I'm going back to El Ameur. And you will deliver this fellow to Tinguit. He is expected at police headquarters."
Balducci was looking at Daru with a friendly little smile.
"What's this story?" asked the schoolmaster. "Are you pulling my leg?"
"No, son. Those are the orders."
"The orders? I'm not . . ." Daru hesitated, not wanting to hurt the old Corsican."I mean, that's not my job."
"What! What's the meaning of that? In wartime people do all kinds of jobs."
"Then I'll wait for the declaration of war!"
Balducci nodded."O. K. But the orders exist and they concern you too. Things are brewing, it appears.There is talk of a forthcoming revolt. . . . “

As the story unfolds, we are given an opportunity to see how these three men respond to the challenge of making choices.For existential writers such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, accepting the responsibility of freedom and making our own decisions and choices, thereby defining who we really are as individuals, is of prime importance.Sidebar: this 3 character tale shares some common ground with Jean-Paul Sartre’s 3 person play, ‘No Exit’.At Sartre’s request, Albert Camus was the first director and the first actor to play Joseph Garcin in ‘No Exit’.Quite possibly, Camus’s experience with ‘No Ext’ influenced his writing of this short-story.

And Camus writes with the same sparse, clean prose we find in ‘The Stranger’.For example, here is a quote when Daru and the Arab are out in the desert: “Daru breathed in deeply the fresh morning light.He felt a sort of rapture before the vast familiar expanse, now almost entirely yellow under its dome of blue sky. They walked an hour more, descending toward the south. They reached a level height made up of crumbly rocks. From there on, the plateau sloped down, eastward, toward a low plain where there were a few spindly trees and, to the south, toward outcroppings of rock that gave the landscape a chaotic look.”

I read this short-story and listened to the audiobook multiple times.What really strikes me is the precision of language.Nothing is wasted — not a word, not an image, nor the briefest encounter.It is as if Camus is performing laser surgery on the human condition.


Like this book? Read online this: Camus, Just an Overnight Guest.

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