A very academic look into the works of Albert Camus with regard to his Algerian roots. Carroll goes to great length to put into context the history of French domination of Algeria and the effect of the native Algerians under it. There is a lot of politics here, especially with regard to the war of Algerian independence from the 1950s through the early 1960s.
Carroll examines all the works of Camus: his novels, his essays, his articles and how he struggled with his “dual identity” throughout most of his life and how it affected and influenced his work. We get his views on colonialism, terrorism, politics, literature, philosophy as well the views of his most ardent critics, who often accused Camus of being a supporter of colonialism with regard to the nation of his birth.
What’s interesting to me is how he struggled with this issue over the course of time and how his fiction as well as his non-fictional work often reflected it. You can see his opinions grow, his attitudes change and how he dealt with this critics - especially his friend and fellow author Jean-Paul Sartre. Carroll goes to great lengths in one chapter to show the differences in their thinking (which eventually led to their falling out).
A fan of Camus’ work would probably not find anything here they didn’t already know but for those who aren’t all that familiar with his non-fictional work, this is a very interesting read. It’s also very interesting to see how some of the predictions Camus made with regard to French Colonialism wound up coming true in the years after his death.
This book examines more of Camus’ political side more than it does his literary side, so the potential reader should be aware of that before delving into this very interesting study. Recommended.
Rating: * * * *