Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Will We Ever Rise

Excerpts from "The Fall", a novel by ALBERT CAMUS, Nobel Prize Winner


"In a certain way I am sticking to my subject with all that about friends and connections. You see, I've heard of a man whose friend had been imprisoned and who slept on the floor of his room every night in order not to enjoy a comfort of which his friend had been deprived. Who, cher monsieur, will sleep on the floor for us? Whether I am capable of it myself? Look, I'd like to be and I shall be. Yes, we shall all be capable of it one day, and that will be salvation. But it's not easy, for friendship is absent-minded or at least unavailing. It is incapable of achieving what it wants. Maybe, after all, it doesn't want it enough? Maybe we don't love life enough? Have you noticed that death alone awakens our feelings? How we love the friends who have just left us? How we admire those of our teachers who have ceased to speak, their mouths filled with earth! Then the expression of admiration springs forth naturally, that admiration they were perhaps expecting from us all their lives. But do you know why we are always more just and more generous toward the dead? The reason is simple. With them there is no obligation. They leave us free and we can take our time, fit the testimonial in between a cocktail party and a nice little mistress, in our spare time, in short. If they forced us to anything, it would be to remembering, and we have a short memory. No, it is the recently dead we love among our friends, the painful dead, our emotion, ourselves after all!" pp 32-33

“The day I was alerted I became lucid; I received all the wounds at the same time and lost my strength all at once. The whole universe then began to laugh at me. That is what no man (except those who are not really alive--in other words, wise men) can endure. Spitefulness is the only possible ostentation. People haste to judge in order not to be judged themselves. What do you expect? The idea that comes most naturally to man, as if from his very nature, is the idea of his innocence.” pp. 80-81

"Some people's problems is to protect themselves from men or at least to come to terms with them." p. 27

"It was not a matter, mind you, of the certainty I had of being more intelligent than everyone else. Besides, such certainty is of no consequence because so many imbeciles share it." p. 29

"Life became less easy for me: when the body is sad the heart languishes. It seemed to me that I was half unlearning what I had never learned and yet knew so well--how to live." pp. 42-43

"You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question." pp. 56-57

“Each of us insists on being innocent at all cost, even if he has to accuse the whole human race and heaven itself.” p. 81

“What we call basic truths are simply the ones we discover after all the others.” p. 84

“One plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn’t even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day.” p. 105

“Yes, one can wage war in this world, ape love, torture one’s fellow man, or merely say evil of one’s neighbor while knitting. But, in certain cases, carrying on, merely continuing, is superhuman.” p. 114

“Sometimes it is easier to see clearly into the liar than into the man that tells the truth.” pp. 119-120

“But when you don’t like your own life, when you know that you must change lives, you don’t have any choice, do you?” p. 144


Vaidehi Dongre said...

i think we r emotional when we talk abt dead people & just a thing in our heads that we shud not talk bad abt dead people. i am trying to grasp the rest of the exerpt.

Alistair D'souza said...

read the book instead... its a short one....
read this other book by him which is freakingly amazing... its called "the stranger" or "the outsider" by some...

Vaidehi Dongre said...

these days am trying to complete "teh namesake" followed by "shantaram"..will buy this after these 2, u reading anything interesting?

Charuta said...

How very true abt the dead and "playing immortal"! Thats what i like best about writers...intangible things i have felt all my life , right bang in front of me in a concise sentence. Seems a good book, will put it on my reading list, thanks!

This is a pretty common one,but have u read "the bridge across forver", by richard bach? It is a "philospohical-romantic" take (if such a genre) on "true" love.One of my fav

Alistair D'souza said...

I've been reading a lot of Coetzee and recently Albert Camus.... Coetzee is amazing... you should catch some of his books... I would recommend 'Disgrace' and 'Waiting for the Barbarians'... then his 'Boyhood' and other books are good too... I read 'Disgrace' first then went and bought all his other books :-) Currently reading 'Dusklands' by Coetzee...

Alistair D'souza said...

@ charuta
not read anything by richard bach yet... a friend mentioned 'Illusions' by him... will catch that.. and then a book on true love... defn something I'll catch :-)

Abt writers being ale to write stuff in a concise sentence... well the sentence itself takes a lot of time and energy to come out with... you have to try to write that way... it drains you in all possible ways... emotionally, physically, mentally :-)

There is this writer named Coetzee who I mentioned about to Vaidehi... his sentences are usually concise with a lot of meaning... writes short novels... 100 - 150 pages.... but what amazing books... trivia on him is that is is a very reticent guy... rarely speaks.. is always thinking...