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The novel I’m working on is heavy on the existentialism so I’m reading a lot of existentialist fiction. It’s the sort of thing my characters would read, as well.
First up was:
L’tranger by Albert Camus
-1- It gave on a queer, dreamlike impression, that blue-white glare overhead and all this blackness round one: the sleek black of the hearse, the dull black of the men’s clothes, and the silvery-black gashes in the road.
This is just a beautiful piece of description.
-2-He then asked if a “change of life,” as he called it, didn’t appeal to me, and I answered that one never changed his way of life; one life was as good as another, and my present one suited me quite well.
Such an existentialist point of view, and one with which I completely agree.
The bulk of the novel takes place over a few days at a beach and Camus really captures the sunlight and heat. Atmosphere is one of the areas in which I need the most work so I’m always on the lookout for people who capture it well.
-3- …the glare of the morning sun hit me in the eyes like a clenched fist
-4- It was like a furnace outside, with the sunlight splintering into flakes of fire on the sand and sea.
-5- For two hours the sun seemed to have made no progress; becalmed in a sea of molten steel.
And a few with which I agree:
-6- I could see that I got on his nerves; he couldn’t make me out, and, naturally enough, this irritated him.
-7- “Well, I rarely have anything much to say. So, naturally I keep my mouth shut.”
-8-As I usually do when I want to get rid of someone whose conversation bores me, I pretended to agree.
Number 7 up there reminds me of my favourite lyric of David Byrne’s:
You start a conversation; you can’t even finish it. You’re talking a lot but you’re not saying anything. When I have nothing to say my lips are sealed. Say something once, why say it again? –”Psychokiller”