Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Favorite Books 9

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Stranger, The Outsider, L'étranger, Albert Camus, Absurdism, Nihilism, Existentialism

Book: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe (American, 1811-1896)

Original Language: English
Year: 1852
Category: Drama

Story: (I don't like the word 'slave'. Just using it as a placeholder.) Mr. Shelby needed to sell his most-trusted slave Uncle Tom to Mr. Haley - the slave trader. The plan to sell Jim along with Uncle Tom is overheard by his mother Eliza who fled to save her son Jim from detachment. George who is Eliza's husband tried to flee to Canada. In the boat Uncle Tom saved Mr. St. Clare's daughter - the little angel Eva. This brought him luck and eventually he was settled in this good man's house. But after demise of St. Clare, his bad luck turned in and he was sold to mean Mr. Legree. Eventually...

Comment: Perhaps the most touching novel on slavery. The most pathetic but powerful sketch is the detachment of a slave from his/her family when s/he was taken away to be sold somewhere else. In effect it used to end the bond with their family members forever. The author portrayed some holy and sacred deaths, I mean, a holy death can't be described more sacredly. She was a renowned abolitionist in her time. She was a sound proof that pure hearts might exist everywhere, among all the races of the world. They are the ones who lit up the world full of pains and agonies.


Book: The Stranger (Original French title L'étranger) (Also exists as 'The Outsider')
Author: Albert Camus (Pronounce as 'Albore Kamu' or 'Albair Kamu', French Algerian, Pied Noir, 1913-1960)
[P.S.: 'Pied Noir' in French means 'Black foot']

Original Language: French
Year: 1942
Category: Drama
Story: Meursault is an atheist, and is mostly indifferent to events of life - whether they are emotional, or tragic, or whatever. He accepts his mother's death normally and became engaged in mundane activities soon after the death - watching movies with girlfriend etc. Later this indifference of his emotion was used to vouch for his criminal mind when he killed a man. He was prosecuted, spent his time in jail, met a chaplain there, and emotionally outbursts his last feelings.

Comment: Albert Camus was the second youngest nobel laureate in literature (awarded in 1957, at the age of 44), and the first African-born to receive the award. A conspiracy theory exists that his death by car accident was plotted by the Russians. But anyway, this is just a theory and likely to be anti-Russian propaganda. He was awarded nobel because of his clear-sighted vision on problems with human consciences which is excellently portrayed in 'The Stranger'. One thing I noticed in the novel is the too detailed description of anything.

Camus was a philosopher and supported 'Absurdism', declined 'Nihilism', and was not interested in 'Existentialism'. These are some heavyweight philosophies and I am not going to delve deep inside. Just to touch - Absurdism says there is no meaning of anything in the world except what meaning we impose on them. Existentialism says philosophical thoughts must rise from individual's moral, scientific, and authentic behavior (true to one's personality, and spirit). Nihilism says life has no intrinsic value, meaning, and purpose. Absurdism is reflected in the novel.


Bangla translated PDF ebook (First page only, 90 KB): The Stranger (Bangla first page)

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.


  1. Dear Mehdi Shams,
    This has reference to your blog post dated October 17, 2012 titled "Running through Indigo Miles". I would be interested to know from where can I download the full book of Bengali Translation Of L'étranger by Albert Camus in .pdf version or maybe buy the book.

    I was not aware of a Bangaladeshi Translation.I have copies of three Bengali Translations by different authors(West Bengal).Would be interested to collect this copy too.

    Have you done the translation by any chance?

    Pabitra Sengupta
    Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.
    Phone 00 91 22 2774 3733/ ...22 9820289492

  2. Dear Ms. Pabitra,

    Yes you are right, I was trying to translate it in my leisure (but could not proceed further anyway). As long as I know there is no Bangladeshi translation.