Camus, a Romance

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Jun 8, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 337 pages
A woman’s passion for the Nobel Prize winner yields “a rich hybrid of biography, literary criticism, intellectual history and memoir” (The Washington Post).
 
Elizabeth Hawes was a college sophomore in the 1950s when she became transfixed and transformed by Albert Camus. The author of such revered works as The Fall, The Plague, and The Stranger, he was best known for his contribution to twentieth-century literature. But who was he, beneath the trappings of fame? A French-Algerian of humble birth; the TB-stricken exile editing the war resistance newspaper Combat; the pied noir in anguish over the Algerian War; and the Don Juan who loved a multitude of women. Above all, he was a man who was making an indelible mark on the psyche of an increasingly grounded and empowered nineteen-year-old girl in Massachusetts. Confident that one day she would meet her idol, Elizabeth never let go of his basic message: that in a world that was absurd, the only course was awareness and action.
 
In this “beautiful memoir of a life-long obsession” (Harper’s Magazine), literary critic Elizabeth Hawes chronicles her personal forty-year journey as she follows in Camus’s footsteps, “bring[ing] this troubled and complex writer back into the light” (The Boston Globe). “A fascinating spin on the mere biographies others produce”, Camus, a Romance is the story not only of the elusive and solitary Camus, one wrought with passion and detail, but of the enduring and life-changing relationship between a reader and a most beloved writer (The Huffington Post).
 

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User Review  - aliceunderskies - LibraryThing

When I picked this up I was really hoping for a meditation on how we attach ourselves to authors and construct wholly idealized and unreal idols of them for our own personal use--a sort of philosophy ... Read full review

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User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

I think what makes this biography so likeable is that Hawes includes her own memoir at the same time. The reader not only gets a portrait of one of the most influential writers of all time but Hawes ... Read full review

Contents

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About the author (2010)

Albert Camus is best known for his contribution to twentieth-century literature. But who was he, beneath the trappings of fame? Camus, a Romance reveals the French-Algerian of humble birth; the TB-stricken exile editing the war resistance newspaper Combat; the pied noir in anguish over the Algerian War; the Don Juan who loved a multitude of women. These form only the barest outlines of Camus’s life, which Elizabeth Hawes chronicles alongside her own experience following in his footsteps. Camus, a Romance is at once biography and memoir wrought with passion and detail, it is the story not only of Camus, but of the relationship between a reader and a most beloved writer.

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