Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Exile and the Kingdom

I'm reading my first Camus, his short story collection, given to me by Winston after he read my blog-post, Exilic Time. I like the stories with their variations on the dialectic between exile and kingdom. The most impressive one, so far, is "The Guest," set in colonial Algeria. The white schoolmaster has to decide whether to hand over an Arab, accused of murdering his own cousin, to the white police. His final action is both humane and plausible to the character. The writing is economically suggestive; every detail counts. The hilly and rocky landscape assumes symbolic significance for moral decisions in the midst of the dangerous political situation.

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