Winner of the Nobel Prize
Camus wrote A Happy Death, his first novel, when he was in his early twenties. In it Camus laid the foundation for The Stranger, focusing in both works on an Algerian clerk who kills a man in cold blood. He also revealed himself to an extent that he never would in his later fiction. For if A Happy Death is the study of a rule-bound being shattering the fetters of his existence, it is also a remarkably candid portrait of its author as a young man. As the novel follows the protagonist, Patrice Mersault, to his victim’s house—and then, fleeing, in a journey that takes him through states of exile, hedonism, privation, and death—it gives us a glimpse into the imagination of one of the great writers of the twentieth century. Translated from the French by Richard Howard.