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Book Information: First Man, the

First Man, the (1994) [Novel]
by Albert Camus Rating: Weighted - 8.5 / Average - 8.7 of 10 (3 votes) (Rate!)
Reviews: None (show them) Review!

Summary :

Published in France for the first time 34 years after it was discovered in the wreckage of the car in which Camus was killed--this autobiographical novel covers the years of Camus' childhood in Algeria, growing up in poverty among silent, illiterate women, desperately searching for a father. Completely unedited, the manuscript was transcribed by Camus' daughter Catherine.

The First Man is a radiant, deeply moving novel of childhood. Camus intended it as the opening book of a projected epic - his War and Peace - but in its storytelling magic and its evocative power, it has a satisfying completeness on its own, covering, as it does, the years of Camus's childhood in Algeria. As he recaptures memories of growing up fatherless with a deaf-mute mother and an illiterate, tyrannical grandmother, Camus renders the poverty of a working-class neighborhood transcended by all the sensuous pleasures that nourish this boy's young life - the escapes to the beach and to the soccer fields with his schoolmates, the joyous hunting expeditions in the backcountry with his uncle and his cronies, the sounds and smells of the streets and docks of Belcourt, the delights of the sun and the sea, and his overwhelming love for his silent mother. Throughout there is the undercurrent of a frustrating search for a father and the awareness of the escalating tension between Algeria and France. But with the miraculous intervention of a wise schoolteacher, the future suddenly opens up.

Original title: Le Premier Homme
Original languages: French


Genre: FictionGeneral FictionLiterary Fiction/classics

Edition #1: First Man, the

First Man, the (1996)
Edition Details:

Language: English

Translated by: David Hapgood
  • "Serves as a kind of magical Rosetta stone to Camus's entire career, illuminating both his life and his work with stunning candor and passion." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • "A masterpiece.... One of the most extraordinary evocations of childhood that exist in any language." Boston Globe
  • "The most ambitious and compassionate of his books.... The First Man has resurrected the author as dramatically as a revisitation." The Nation
  • "Fascinating... helps put all of Camus's work into a clearer perspective... Camus's voice has never been more personal." The New York Times Book Review
  • "The First Man is perhaps the most honest book Camus ever wrote, and the most sensual.... Camus is not writing at the height of his powers, he is writing at the depth of his powers.... It is a work of genius." The New Yorker
  • "Rending, brilliant... joyfully vivid.... The First Man has an overwhelming emotional integrity.... To read [it] is to visit a tomb and find that a spring is bubbling from it." Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review
  • "A beautiful paean to the past, memory and family.... A moving novel and a welcome addition to the Camus oeuvre, The FIrst Man underscores Camus's lifelong celebration of existence itself." San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle
  • "Fascinating.... The First Man helps put all of Camus's work into a clearer perspective and brings into relief what separates him from the more militant literary personalities of his day, like Malraux and Sartre.... THere is humor, too, and evidence of a great capacity for affection, friendship and gratitude.... Camus's voice has never been more personal than in The First Man." The New York Times Book Review
  • "Utterly absorbing and evocative.... Much can be gleaned along these lines from the appended interleaves and notes and sketches that detail the author's wider vision. These items... provide an unusual and privileged window into the writer's craft.... They demonstrate in a simple and haunting way what Albert Camus was thinking as he penned his last words." Boston Book Review
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Manifested in:

First Man, the (August 6, 1996)

Format: Paperback
Place of publication: New York
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 9780679768166
Dimensions: 5.2 x 8.0 x 0.7
Pages: 336

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