Elizabeth Hawes

Camus, a Romance

A woman’s passion for the Nobel Prize winner yields “a rich hybrid of biography, literary criticism, intellectual history and memoir” (The Washington Post).
Elizabeth Hawes was a college sophomore in the 1950s when she became transfixed and transformed by Albert Camus. The author of such revered works as The Fall, The Plague, and The Stranger, he was best known for his contribution to twentieth-century literature. But who was he, beneath the trappings of fame? A French-Algerian of humble birth; the TB-stricken exile editing the war resistance newspaper Combat; the pied noir in anguish over the Algerian War; and the Don Juan who loved a multitude of women. Above all, he was a man who was making an indelible mark on the psyche of an increasingly grounded and empowered nineteen-year-old girl in Massachusetts. Confident that one day she would meet her idol, Elizabeth never let go of his basic message: that in a world that was absurd, the only course was awareness and action.
In this “beautiful memoir of a life-long obsession” (Harper’s Magazine), literary critic Elizabeth Hawes chronicles her personal forty-year journey as she follows in Camus’s footsteps, “bring[ing] this troubled and complex writer back into the light” (The Boston Globe). “A fascinating spin on the mere biographies others produce”, Camus, a Romance is the story not only of the elusive and solitary Camus, one wrought with passion and detail, but of the enduring and life-changing relationship between a reader and a most beloved writer (The Huffington Post).
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