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The First Man

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,226 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews
The unfinished manuscript of The First Man was discovered in the wreckage of car accident in which Camus died in 1960. Although it was not published for over thirty years, it was an instant bestseller when it finally appeared in 1994. The 'first man' is Jacques Cormery, whose poverty-stricken childhood in Algiers is made bearable by his love for his silent and illiterate m ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 359 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Thorndike Press (first published April 13th 1994)
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Jim Fonseca
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-authors
Basically an autobiography by Camus. The manuscript was found in the car when Camus died in a car crash in 1960, when he was 57, and just 3 years after he won the Nobel Prize. It’s clearly a draft with a lot of footnotes and other notes that that show a writer at work. (Change names; don’t use the real names; develop; illegible; add this; take out that.) Obviously it could use editing, but it’s a good book as is.

In an editor’s note we’re told the manuscript was not published until 1994 (by his
A Hunger for Discovery

This is Camus’s last work. But for anyone interested in his philosophy, or more importantly the reasons for his philosophy, this should probably be the first to read. The First Man is intensely emotional without being sentimental, self-critical without regrets, and above all human with a humanness which is, I think, the key to everything else he wrote.

The book shows Camus as a person shaped in his intentions as well as his vices by a most remarkable and unlikely multi-cult
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I expected. Due to the philosophical, melancholy nature of the first two Camus books I’ve read, (The Stranger and The Plague), I expected this book to be more academic, but it was far from it; it’s a more personal book, nostalgic, full of feelings and memories.

This book is considered to be an autobiographical novel, and its unedited manuscript was found in the car wreckage in which Camus was killed. Even for an unedited piece of work, it is simply a masterpiece. It was int
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Camus & readers who don't mind winding prose
Who knew I would be reading Camus' last novel as though it was his first? In this world of the passed away French-Algiers, the present and past are blurred, as a man recalls his childhood, and the voice of the third-person narrator is so close, it might as well be first-person. This harrowing account of a fatherless boy living in poverty is so pure that it's perfect in its stimulation. How can an author who grew so popular for his structural peculiarity in The Stranger, bring us such a completel ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: بیوگرافی
آنان که عشق برمی انگیزند, حتی وقتی سقوط میکنند, پادشاهان و حمکت وجود جهانند. آلبر کامو

و کامو عشق بر می انگیزد, عشقی که با این خوانش برای من به ستایش رسید....."آدم اول" کتابی که در بین خوانندگان ایرانی مهجور مانده است و من متاسفم که دیر خواندمش....کتابی که به اشتباه با کتابهای دیگر کامو مقایسه شده و با حد اندیشه فلسفی اش اندازه گیری شده است...."آدم اول" رمان نیست, فلسفه و ادبیات نیست که شرح زندگی کامو و دنیایی که در آن رشد کرده است میباشد.....زندگی در نهایت فقر و رنج....در آنجایی که هرکسی آدم اول
Henry Martin
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is not often that I struggle to find words; yet, this is one of those times. Reading this unfinished manuscript has left me without words to express how I feel about it. It's not a novel - it's a glimpse into the mind of a great man as he looks back on what was and what was not. It is a rare glimpse into his likes, dislikes, memories, relationships, upbringing, social settings... This 'novel' is full of inconsistencies, missing words, and notes. Nevertheless, such is life - impure, fragmented ...more
Parastoo Ashtian
بچه به خودی خود هیچ نیست، پدر و مادر هستند که او را نشان میدهند. با وجود آنهاست که حد خود را معین میکند، و حدش در نظر مردم معین میشود. به واسطه آنهاست که احساس میکند به راستی دربارهاش قضاوت میشود، آن هم قضاوتی که نمیتوان از آن استیناف خواست، و همین قضاوت مردم بود که ژاک تازه آن را کشف کرد و همراه با آن قضاوت خود او بود دربارهی دلچرکین پرکراهتی که در سینه خودش بود. نمیتوانست بفهمد که وقتی بزرگ می شود، اگر این کراهت را احساس نکرده باشد برتریهای کمتری خواهد داشت. چوم مردم، خوب یا بد، خود آدم را میب ...more
Leo Robertson
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adds an unexpected dimension to Camus' philosophy: that it was written by a regular guy whose daily worries, ponderings, misgivings and regrets found him just as much as ours find us. That's of course a major point of his philosophy, that inherent flaws in the machine make regrets, worries, mistakes and absolute communion between people impossible, but gone in this work is the darkly ironic facade. This time we find reassurance in that Camus is as he was basically trying to convince us he was an ...more
Sareh Ghasemi
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
توصیفهای کتاب حرف نداره... مخصوصن قسمتهایی که بازارهای الجزیره رو به تصویر میکشه، کاملن میتونی خودتو توی فضاش قرار بدی... گرمای طاقتفرسای الجزیره رو روی پوستت حس کنی... بوی شیرینیهای عربی به مشامت برسه... ترس «ژاک» و دوستاش، که ناشی از شیطنتهاشونه... و حتا احساس عجز و ناتوانییی که گاهی سراغ شخصیتها میاد... همه و همه ملموس و در یک کلمه بینظیره.
«بعد هر دو تاریخ را خواند (۱۸۸۵-۱۹۱۴) و خود به خود حساب کرد: بیست و نه سال. ناگهان فکری به ذهنش رسید که تا ته دلش را لرزاند. خود او چهل سال داشت. مردی که ز
Jay Green
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Super translation that captures the clarity, vividness and unfussiness of Camus's writing. One of my favourite works, purely because of its evocative powers.
This begins my Camus’ Centenary year (he was born in 1913) reading list. I plan on reading even more widely than I have of his oeuvre this year, and revisiting some of his works, particularly if there’s a new translation I have not read. On the 7th of November, there will be a celebration at my house.

Now, reviewing a rescued-partial-first-draft manuscript turned into a book is a different kind of thing to other books. When you hover over the fifth star in Goodreads, it says ‘it was amazing’, so
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed every single word of this book. This is a MUST read to Camus' fans!
أغبط من عاشوا في النصف الاول من القرن الماضي الي ستيناته ...
فترة التقلبات و الثورات ..
وبزوغ الرؤى والافكار ...
أغبطهم أيضا لغنى الفترة بكثير من المبدعين ...الذين أتسمت أبدعاتهم بالثورة و النضج وتفرد كل منهم بفلسفة خاصه ...ورؤية تستحق الاحترام
ربما كان ألبير كامو من أعظم أفرازات هذا العصر
وروايته الانسان الاول (التي تعد أخر أعماله ) هي نتاج مخاض فكري عميق أمتاز بالوعي و تنقيح العديد من الافكار الطافية على السطح في هذا الوقت ...
الانسان الاول هي قصة طفل فرنسي نشأ في الجزائر و عرف أول ما عرف ان دولته
Oct 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reading this latest "The First Man" (1995) "published thirty-five years after its discovery amid the wreckage of the car accident that killed its author" (back cover) is of course a bit disappointing due to its evidently unfinished story. Moreover, some of its generously-inserted footnotes have not fully clarified, I think, its readers to appreciate more, rather they seem to distract them into vaguely understandable information, for instance:

Three days ago they had finished over the Atlantic, …,
Mohamad Yoosofi
این داستان نیمهکاره آخرین اثر آلبر کامو است که مرگ، به نویسنده فرصت نداده آن را به فرجام برساند. ظاهراً این اثر زندگینامهی خودنوشت نویسنده نیز هست و بر روایتهای آن، رنگی از واقعیت نمایان است. ماجراهای این داستان دربرگیرندهی زندگی شخصیت اصلی آن، ژاک کورمری، است از ابتدای تولد تا چهلسالگی؛ منتها بخش عمدهی آنچه کامو مجال نوشتنش را یافته، به دوران کودکی و نوجوانی و تجربههای آن برمیگردد؛ بهویژه رویدادهایی که در محیط مدرسه و جمع دوستان برای او رخ میدهد. در سرتاسر این داستان، در خلال هر چیزی که روایت م ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب آخرین اثر آلبر کاموست که بدلیل مرگش ناتمام موند ولی خواهرش به هرصورتی که بود اونو چاپ کرد بعد مرگ کامو،و اینکه در واقع این کتاب خود زندگی نویسندس از بچگی تا سن چهل سالگی که دوران کودکی و نوجوانیش رو خودش نوشته و از اونجا به بعد خواهرش اونو تکمیل کرده از طریق دست نوشته هایی که بعد مرگ کامو پیداکرده و قسمتی از این دست نوشته ها و نامه ها نیز آخر کتاب اورده شده و واقعا کتاب خوبیه و باز همون تقکرش رو دوباره کامو اومده صحبت کرده ولی اینبار زندگی خودشو توضیح داده و نوشته که چطور میشه فقیر بود ...more
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of my favorite quotes:

-“There are people who vindicate the world, who help others live just by their presence” (35).

-“There is a terrible emptiness in me, an indifference that hurts” (36).
-“…dependence and necessity remain, and that is not far from resembling love” (222).
-“her son, endlessly, watched her in the shadows with a lump in his throat, staring at her thin bent back, filled with an obscure anxiety in the presence of adversity he could not understand” (228).
-“She embraced him, and t
Foad Ansari
Jul 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب رو بعد از مرگ آلبر کامو و توسط همسرش و خانواده و دوساتانش جمع آوری شده و بر اساس یادداشتها ی اون نوشته شده
مطمن هستم اگر کامو خودش زنده بود نمیگذاشت این کتاب به این شکل چاپ بشه یعنی درهم وبرهم و ناخوشایند
حالا میفهمم چرا نویسنده ها قبل از خودکشی دست نوشته های خودشون رو میسوزانند
به خاطر اینکه اینطوری و شتابزده چاپ نشه
این دلسوزی برای چاپ آثار نویسنده بعد از مرگ فکر کنم باعث بشه تن نویسنده های بزرگ بیشتر توی گور بلرزه
Paul Martin
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, favorites
Catherine Camus explains in the introduction that had her father lived to see the novel he was working on published, it would not be nearly as personal and revealing as this unfinished manuscript. I am of course not in any way glad that Camus died in the tragic way he did, but I honestly can't help but feel that it would have been a tremendous loss had this not been published.

I have read most of his novels, and while I like them all very much, I also suspect that if Camus lived until he was 100
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

La mère d'Albert Camus

L'auteur a été fauché par une mort accidentelle avant de pouvoir finir cet ouvrage. Malgré cela, de larges passages sont déjà constitués, et permettent de profiter de ce qui annonçait déjà un grand livre. Il s'agit principalement d'un récit autobiographique, prenant place dans l'Algérie coloniale du début du XXème siècle. Ce récit déborde d'amour; pour ses proches, pour l'instituteur qui l'a pris sous aile et lui a permis de poursuivre ses études; pour ce père qu'il n'a pas
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: french
I studied Camus in school, like all French schoolchildren. Apart from chosen excerpts that always pepper young readers' school anthologies, you tackle Camus in high school when you get to Existentialism in your history of French literature curriculum. Well, I remember clearly that I had liked Camus the best... I am not a fan of the Existentialist Posse, that is for sure... but Camus is different somehow, not sure if it the Algerian sun, the very modest origins... he is just so human, so vulnerab ...more
'El primer hombre' es la novela inacabada que Canys estaba escribiendo cuando murió en un accidente de coche a los 46 años. Se trata también de su novela más autobiográfica, porque habla ni más ni menos de un niño francés que vive en Argel y que está avergonzado de la pobreza y la ignorancia de su familia, una familia formada por una madre medio sorda y ausente, una abuela autoritaria y un tío sordo, y sin padre porque murió en la primera guerra mundial cuando hacía poco que Camus había nacido. ...more
Seval Yılmaz Koşar
Camus, 1957 yılında Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü'nü aldıktan sonra bu romanı yazmaya başlamış. Yazarın 1960 yılında beklenmedik şekilde ölümü üzerine roman tamamlanamamış. Roman taslağı, kaza yerinde çamurlar içinde bulunmuş; Camus, bu taslağı yanında taşıyormuş. Ölümünden 34 yıl sonra, 1994 yılında, yazarın kızı Catherine Camus tarafından yayımlanmış. İyi ki de yayımlanmış diyorum. Camus, bu romanın başyapıtı olacağını umuyormuş ama bitmemiş olmasına rağmen bence yazarın şimdiye kadar okuduğum en iyi r ...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
OK, the hubby has never heard me say, "One of the best I've ever read," but he heard it when I finished this. Camus' other books that I recently read, The Stranger and The Fall, were both good, worthy of the five star rating I gave them, but in comparison, this deserves ten stars. It is about a man (it is autobiographical, so it's about Camus himself) who returns to the Algerian neighborhood in which he grew up to see his mom, visit the grave of the father he never knew, and try to learn more ab ...more
Jul 31, 2015 added it
I thought I had read all of Albert Camus's novels--turns out I was right and I was wrong. The First Man is an unfinished manuscript Camus was working on at the time of his death. It's fairly long for a book by Camus, but based on his notes, it would have been much longer in the final version.

Here we have a bildungsroman that is told from Jacques's perspective as a boy and, intermittently, as a 40-year-old man. The novel is written in great detail, all the peculiarities of being French in Algeria
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction
This is Camus's unfinished autobiographical novel that he was working on at his untimely death in a car accident in France in 1960. (Supposedly the manuscript was found in his briefcase at the scene.) It's the story of young Jacques Cormery, who never knew his father - he died in World War I when Jacques was an infant - being raised in extreme poverty in Algeria by his illiterate grandmother and illiterate, nearly deaf-mute mother (she has a vocabulary of 400 words). It's a moving, poignant, lyr ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
اگرچه مردم وانمود میکنند که به حق احترام می گذارند،اما در برابر هیچ چیز غیر از زور سر فرود نمی آورند.
Dave Groff
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this long ago, but it is a favorite. A very different Camus, very warm and human. His final work, it makes one all the sadder that this great writer did not live longer.
Erika Dreifus
Albert Camus was a forty-six-year-old Nobel laureate in literature when he died in an automobile crash on January 4, 1960. Found amid the debris was an unfinished manuscript, one which remained unpublished until it appeared in France as Le Premier Homme in 1994.

Why the delay? In a compelling introduction to the American edition, Catherine Camus reminds readers of the mood in France in 1960, when her father's moral stances—particularly his open criticism of Soviet totalitarianism and his advocacy
Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about Camus and for anyone who enjoys his writing. The book was unfinished and in his daughter's introduction, reveals more of the writer than what typically appeared in a finished manuscript. Despite missing words, the writing is strong, centering on a few themes- Algeria, childhood, poverty and politics. Who else can write as succinctly and as empathetically as Camus (in first draft!), as in passages describing his family's outlook: " ...more
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Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. Of semi-proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest in philosophy (only chance prevented him from pursuing a university care ...more
More about Albert Camus
“When the soul suffers too much, it develops a taste for misfortune.” 1140 likes
“When I was young I asked more of people than they could give: everlasting friendship, endless feeling.

Now I know to ask less of them than they can give: a straightforward companionship. And their feelings, their friendship, their generous actions seem in my eyes to be wholly miraculous: a consequence of grace alone.”
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