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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

The Plague

The Plague - Stuart Gilbert, Albert Camus "Classic." "A perfect achievement." "Masterpiece." Big words with significant meaning. I have a better one. "Eh."The question I have is whether The Plague should be viewed as a work of literature, or something entirely different: philosophy, perhaps? Had I gone into this book expecting a creative work of philosophy, I may have been able to enjoy it. (A little). Essentially, The Plague is a metaphor for Europe under WWII and asks the big questions of life and crises. I went into it expecting a great work of literature, however. And I can only judge it as such.The Plague starts off well. Sprinkled throughout are wonderful scenes, putting the plague in its proper context, but they are few and far between. For the most part, it reads too much like a text book. The narrator is detached from the characters, making it difficult to differentiate from one to the next and leaving me unattached to all of them. The scenes are largely descriptive, giving a brief overview of the events without showing them. The dialogue is stilted. One character speaks for pages with no break, explaining things the narrator already knows for the sake of the reader. This book is filled with all the things students of writing are told not to do.So, I say "eh." The metaphor is well done. There is some potential in some of the scenes. But it's not enough for me to care. And what's more damning in a book about thousands of people dying than a lack of care?