A Life Worth Living
Robert Zaretsky, A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2013.)
Since I was ending 2013 by re-reading some of the books by Albert Camus, it seemed appropriate to read a new book about Camus. My previous studies of Albert Camus were part of my undergraduate work, now 40 years ago.
Zaretsky’s book, it seems is something more than a biography. It doesn’t so much trace the events of Camus’ life as tell the story of how those events shaped his work and outlook. Quite frankly, I have little interest in another biography that tells the events of a man whose ending I know. He dies in a senseless car crash. Zaretsky, however, explores the deeper meanings of a man who lived his life somewhere on the border between his native Algiers and France, between the realities of Arabian culture and the ways of Paris and the scene of artists. And Zaretsky is always asking the question, “What does it mean?”
The book is an easy and insightful read, well worth the time for anyone interested in Camus. It also puts his writings into a perspective that made this year’s return to his previous works especially meaningful.