Finally read the English version of The Stranger, a few weeks after finishing the French version. It took like two hours. I was happy to confirm that I had in fact understood the story, and that my impression from the French reading – that the main character seemed not so much existentially detached as developmentally disordered – stood firm. I know that was not Camus’ intention and that this literal interpretation of the text makes me somewhat dense, but so be it.
And now for your listening pleasure, the song running through my head the entire length of the book (here’s the connection):
This morning I read a couple of chapters of L’étranger on the subway. I’m about halfway through and I am a fan of how easy it is to read in French but not really a fan of the book per se. I said to my French colleague, “I’m not sure I get the premise. Is he behaving like that because he has Asperger’s or something?” He replied that it was just like an American to jump to a psychological diagnosis and that actually this is a novel about existential ennui or something like that. Not sure I’m convinced.
After work I went to a French conversation Meetup at which I
spoke with grilled a woman who had just returned from taking a year off to study French in Strasbourg. It’s a good thing my French sounds so silly because otherwise she may have been intimidated by my rapid fire interrogation: how did she do it, why did she do it, why did she do it when she did it, and every other detail I could suck out of her to inform my own “study abroad” decision.
On the subway ride home I wiped my Duolingo slate clean and started fresh with Spanish, even though I already got through the whole thing last year. I am in a no man’s land at the moment as I’m between one Spanish class and the next, which starts in September. I figured I may as well re-do Duolingo so I don’t lose the past semester’s hard-won progress. I’m looking forward to experiencing once more the haphazard juxtapositions of words that pass for human utterances. (To wit: You drink my cat’s milk.)
Alors, adios y bonne nuit!