Exile and the Kingdom
by Albert Camus
I love Camus (The Stranger, The Plague and The Fall, in that order), but this one left me unimpressed. “The Adulterous Woman” felt like a less vivid version of the already-too-depressing The Sheltering Sky, and “The Renegade” was almost incomprehensible. I liked the last four stories more, with “The Guest” and “The Artist at Work” being my favorites, but they were still pretty hollow reading experiences. Granted, the subject matter is as bleak as Camus’s worldview, but all of his other fictional works are significantly more interesting while dealing with the same overarching perspective. I wanted to give this 3 stars just because that’s how much I love and respect Camus as both writer and philosopher, but if I’m grading this specific book honestly I have to give it only 2, and risk the wrath of those more intellectual than I.