One of the most brilliant novel by Camus, found in the car wreckage that killed him, almost 30 years later, The First Man, is his most real novel I felt. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death was a mindblowing collection of his essays which I remember disturbed me quite a lot. My dad always told me not to fall in love with Camus and his existential crisis, not to be lost, but see it as something beyond me, something not about the world. But all his books touched me greatly, but in this book you can see how he is touched by the life he spent, recklessly, carelessly, estranging himself from the world and human empathy, into a man who looked back at the life and made peace with the virtues of life. The true nature of life. I would like to remember Camus as not the rebel, but a human and this book helped me do that. I finally made peace with Camus and the literary tempest I felt inside me with him. I was not in love with his deranged self anymore, I was at peace with the writer in him after this book.
Perhaps I read too much into books when I don’t need to. But every writer that has touched me is a huge episode in my life, in my family and friends terms a curse they feel which left me in turmoil with all the voices I churn inside, the subtext, the paragraphs, the streets, the warmth, the tragedy that all the characters felt, which is of course a piece of the author itself in most cases. Camus speaks how life is about people your people in this book rather than the rebellious himself and his ideas which most other books were about. His journey was incomplete because he died when he was writing this book which brings to light the mere triviality of our lives and how we need to live every day and make use of our lives every day be it in financial or emotional or intellectual poverty.
And above all, I understand why Atticus told me to be careful about Camus because there is a hella lot of Atticus in Camus and his books. Sometimes when I think about Atticus’s glorious adventurous life he had, the secret paper he ran as a comrade like Camus, the great speeches he gave, the poverty he dealt with in his childhood and youth, the alienation as an impoverished student in his university times, his heroine of a mother who was an iron lady, his siblings who were all so profoundly unique people, who grew into episodes of a novel themselves, it is so much of turmoil for him perhaps to look back and make his daughter read through all of it perhaps? I always loved Atticus’s stories which he told us, though reluctantly about his adventures I felt. He sometimes speaks for hours and hours and sometimes hardly at all about the past. Atticus is The first man in my life, and I am complete unlike the unfinished novel The first Man. Atticus is the Camus who was to be if he lived. The parallels are quite vivid, always found it embarrassing to write about this, but I now have done. 🙂 Atticus will forgive me for this I hope.