The Meursault Investigation (Paperback)

By Kamel Daoud, John Cullen (Translator)

Other Press (NY), 9781590517512, 160pp.

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

June 2015 Indie Next List

“The Meursault Investigation is a complex and subtle reckoning with the legacy of colonialism and the silences it imposes. Although the novel was conceived in the shadow of Camus' The Stranger, readers realize quickly that it haunts those shadows not because it lacks its own light, but because Daoud wants to plumb the depths of that darkness to tell a story that demands to be heard. I hope everyone listens.”
— Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, CA
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Description

A New York Times Notable Book of 2015 -- Michiko Kakutani, The Top Books of 2015, New York Times -- TIME Magazine Top Ten Books of 2015 -- Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year -- Financial Times Best Books of the Year

"A tour-de-force reimagining of Camus's The Stranger, from the point of view of the mute Arab victims." --The New Yorker

He was the brother of "the Arab" killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus's classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling's memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name--Musa--and describes the events that led to Musa's casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.

In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.

The Stranger is of course central to Daoud's story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice.


About the Author

Kamel Daoud is an Algerian journalist based in Oran, where he writes for the Quotidien d'Oran--the third largest French-language Algerian newspaper. He contributes a weekly column to Le Point, and his articles have appeared in Liberation, Le Monde, Courrier International, and are regularly reprinted around the world. A finalist for the Prix Goncourt, The Meursault Investigation won the Prix Francois Mauriac and the Prix des Cinq-Continents de la francophonie. International rights to the novel have been sold in twenty countries. A dramatic adaptation of The Meursault Investigation will be performed at the 2015 Festival d'Avignon, and a feature film is slated for release in 2017.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Describe the relationship that emerges between Harun and his mother after Musa’s murder. Is it comparable to how Musa describes the power organized religion holds over the imaginations of his countrymen? (See “She seemed to resent me for a death I basically refused to undergo…Maman knew the art of making ghosts live and, conversely, was very good at annihilating her close relatives” pp 36–37; “My body, therefore, became the visible trace of her dead son, and I ended up obeying her unspoken injunction” p. 41; “[The imam] wasn’t even sure he was alive, because he was living like a dead man” p 141.)generic viagra price canada
  2. Why does Musa learn French? What does he appreciate about French and the way Camus/Meursault uses it that he does not find in how Maman uses language? In the story, Maman holds an enormous amount of power over Harun. When he learns to read and write in French, does that power dynamic change?generic viagra price canada
  3. Harun says, “What hurts me every time I think about it is that [Meursault] killed [Musa] by passing over him, not by shooting him” (p 5). Describe the power that Meursault’s account of his murder, as opposed to the murder itself, has on Harun’s family and the course of his life.generic viagra price canada
  4. One of Harun’s criticisms of his mother is how her language is “not too big on precision” (p 37). What else is Maman imprecise about, and how does her imprecision shape Harun’s life?generic viagra price canada
  5. Harun explains that because of the popularity of Meursault’s account, his brother Musa “over and over again . . . replays his own death” (p 3). What else recurs in the novel? In the end, is this cycle of recurrence something that can be broken?generic viagra price canada
  6. Meriem is one of the many characters in the novel who “disappears,” yet Harun never refers to her as such. Why do you think that is?generic viagra price canada
  7. Does The Meursault Investigation have a Musa of its own—a character or characters who are afforded nothing more than anonymity? Does this anonymity have the same violence as the anonymity of “the Arab” in The Stranger?generic viagra price canada


Coverage from NPR

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