Meursault leads an apparently unremarkable bachelor life in
Algiers until he commits a random act of violence. His lack of
emotion and failure to show remorse only serve to increase his
guilt in the eyes of the law, and challenges the fundamental values
of society - a set of rules so binding that any person breaking
them is condemned as an outsider. For Meursault, this is an insult
to his reason and a betrayal of his hopes; for Camus it
encapsulates the absurdity of life.
In The Outsider (1942), his classic existentialist novel, Camus
explores the predicament of the individual who refuses to pretend
and is prepared to face the indifference of the universe,
courageously and alone.