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Camus' 1947 novel The Plague hits close to home

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28.03.2020

Albert Camus' 1947 novel, The Plague, has some parallels for Canberrans right now. Picture: Shutterstock

In the intellectually stimulating online places that I haunt (and, quarantined indoors after just being in New Zealand, I have more of this haunting time than usual) commentators galore are saying this is a time when we really, truly must read Albert Camus' 1947 novel The Plague.

The internet is bristling now with prescribed lists of appropriate quarantine reading. Camus' nightmarish, rat-infested novel of a plague ravaging a nondescript Algerian town and of what qualities and vices it brings out in the townsfolk is on many of those lists.

But The Plague is also getting many stand-alone hymns of praise as a very special masterpiece packing a special wake-up wallop in these pestilential times.

Finding these hymns persuasive (and a little ashamed that I've not previously read The Plague or anything at all by the acclaimed Nobel laureate) I have scurried to buy and to read it.

And what joy that, at a time when a quarantined Canberran cannot go to the shops to buy lots of the essentials of Canberran life (such as Norwegian smoked eel, lobster glace, handmade Belgian chocolates, quails eggs, Wagyu beef fillet steak and wild Chilean seabass canapés strips), books for one's e-reader are magically purchased and delivered to your device, in a trice, without one having to even poke a nose out into the diseased world.

A copy of The Plague arrived in my........

© Canberra Times