Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

A brief synopsis of The Outsider

I tried to snazz up my blog a bit. I added a sidebar containing my most popular posts. I did this in the hopes that my favorite post (namely, “I Hate Stana Katic”) would show up and we could all bask in its awesomeness. But no such luck. Apparently, the “Top Posts” sidebar is based on the most recent views, and sadly, no one has recently viewed that post. Frowny face. I guess it’s up to me to constantly read and re-read that post so that it’ll shoot up the charts and the message can get out about how much Stana Katic sucks and then a miracle will happen and we’ll get Firefly back on the air!

Anyhoo, I’m almost done with my book, “The Outsider.” It’s a bit of a strange one. The plot synopsis is as follows: a lackadaisical man, Mr. Meurseult (that’s almost assuredly spelled wrong) learns that his mother dies. He goes to the funeral, but doesn’t show too much emotion or concern about his mother’s death – he seems to accept it the same way one accepts that it’s raining out. After the funeral, he goes back to his flat in Algiers and gets back to his life. He clerks in an office – on the weekend he hangs out with his girlfriend. Mr. Merseult (that looks a bit better) has a couple wacky neighbors, and he gets involved in the affairs of one of them. 

Merseult’s neighbor (who’s name escapes me at the moment – it’s something fancy like Bartolino, except that isn’t it at all.) Anyhoo, Bartolino (which isn’t his name, but that’s what we’re going with at the moment) is a bit of a hothead, and roughed up his girlfriend one night. Merseult goes down to the police station to vouch for Bartolino – because the rumour around town is that Bartolino is a pimp. As a result of Merseult’s vouching, they become friends. (Well, Bartolino tells Merseult that now they’re friends, and Merseult passively agrees.) However, the girl that Bartolino roughed up has a brother, and this brother and a couple friends start to stalk Bartolino, promising to do him wrong.

One weekend, Merseult and his girlfriend (fiancee by this point) and Bartolino head down to the beach. They meet up with another couple and spend the day together. As Merseult and Bartolino are walking along the beach, they see the brother of the girl Bartolino roughed up stalking them. They almost get into a fight, but cooler heads prevail, and Merseult and Bartolino head back to the beach house for some lunch.

Then, inexplicably, Merseult decides to go for a walk on the beach in the hot sun. Out of impulse, he grabs a gun and brings it with him. As he’s walking along the beach, he sees that brother that’s been stalking Bartolino. Then, out of nowhere, seized by an impulse, Merseult shoots the brother dead in cold blood.

Soon after, Merseult gets taken into custody. Some time elapses, and now he’s on trial for his life. This is where I am now in the book – he’s on trial, and it looks like he’s getting railroaded, as the prosecutor is trying to establish the fact that Merseult has no sympathy or compassion, and that he’s quite capable of shooting a man dead. They use the fact that he appeared to be callously unaffected by the death of his mother as the linchpin of the case.

Of course, I don’t see a happy ending for Mr. Merseult. After all, he *DID* shoot the guy. The victim was lying prostrate and unarmed in the sand, and without warning, was shot dead by Merseult. A competent lawyer might argue for insanity or try to spring him on a technicality (or reduce the charge to manslaughter), but I mean, he’s pretty darn guilty, as far as I’m concerned. 

Then again, it could happen that I’m missing a huge chunk of subtext to the novel. That happens quite a lot with me. For example, when I read Life of Pi, I didn’t realize it was an allegory about faith until someone pointed it out to me. I thought it was just a shitty book – ’cause it had a made up story then a real story afterwards? Weird. I didn’t get it.

But whatevs. I’ll finish the book today and maybe there’ll be some surprise ending. But since it’s written by a French Philosopher, I seriously doubt it.


May 21, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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