The First Man by Albert Camus is a 325-page hardcover published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, stated sixth printing of October 1995. Both the dust jacket and half-cloth hardcover book are in very good condition, with no flaws.
Just published in France last year--thirty-four years after the handwritten manuscript was discovered in the car wreckage when Camus was killed--this autobiographical novel has received extraordinary acclaim ("shattering," Le Monde called it; "a voice that pierces the heart," wrote Francoise Giroud).
The First Man is a radiant, deeply moving novel of childhood. Camus intended it as the opening book of a projected epic--his War and Peace--but in its storytelling magic and its evocative power, it has a satisfying completeness on its own, covering, as it does, the years of Camus's childhood in Algeria. As he recaptures memories of growing up fatherless with a deaf-mute mother and an illiterate, tyrannical grandmother, Camus renders the poverty of a working-class neighborhood transcended by all the sensuous pleasures that nourish this boy's young life--the escapes to the beach and to the soccer fields with his schoolmates, the joyous hunting expeditions in the backcountry with his uncle and his cronies, the sounds and smells of the streets and docks of Belcourt, the delights of the sun and the sea, and his overwhelming love for his silent mother. Throughout there is the undercurrent of a frustrating search for a father and the awareness of the escalating tension between Algeria and France. But with the miraculous intervention of a wise schoolteacher, the future suddenly opens up.
Because these pages were never honed and edited by Camus--the handwritten manuscript was simply transcribed by his daughter--there is a raw energy to the writing. Feelings and images are poured onto the page with an intensity that makes this story of a childhood more spontaneous, more lyrical, more moving than anything Camus published in his lifetime.