The Meursault Investigation

He was the brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.

In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.

The Stranger is of course central to Daoud’s story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice. 

 

Meet the Author

KAMEL DAOUD is an Algerian journalist based in Oran, where he writes for the Quotidien d’Oran—the third largest French-language Algerian newspaper. He contributes a weekly column to Le Point, and his articles have appeared in Libération, Le Monde, Courrier International, and are regularly reprinted around the world. A finalist for the Prix Goncourt, The Meursault Investigation won the Prix François Mauriac and the Prix des Cinq-Continents de la francophonie. International rights to the novel have been sold in twenty countries. A dramatic adaptation of The Meursault Investigation will be performed at the 2015 Festival d’Avignon, and a feature film is slated for release in 2017.

JOHN CULLEN is the translator of many books from Spanish, French, German, and Italian, including Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck, Juli Zeh’s Decompression, Yasmina Reza’s Happy Are the Happy, and Chantal Thomas’s The Exchange of Princesses. He lives in upstate New York.

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