Camus's Dream

A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria, a hundred years ago today. Camus's father, a day laborer, died in WWI, and Camus was brought up by his illiterate, deaf mother and his grandmother. In The First Man, his last, incomplete novel, Camus included many details of his impoverished early life -- no electricity, water, bathroom or even oven, Camus and his brother in charge of taking family food to a local shopkeeper for cooking. Camus's notebooks also sketch out, in emotional if not actual detail, how The First Man would conclude:

The end.... "Return the land. Give all the land to the poor, to those who have nothing and who are so poor that they never wanted to have and to possess, to those in the country who are like her, the immense herd of the wretched, mostly Arab and a few French...and then I, poor once more and forever, cast into the worst of exiles at the end of the earth, I will smile and I will die happy, knowing that those I revered, she whom I revered, are at last joined to the land I so loved under the sun where I was born."

Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.