I read the novel The Stranger in my teens and

Camus’s unblinking vision frightened my soul to its marrow. The

cosmic loneliness of Meursault, the hero of that novel, haunted

me and I was impelled to use symbolically Camus’s device

of having the story flow from the point of view

of a narrator isolated in his jail cell during the

hours before his execution. For me there was a spiritual

connection between Meursault’s frigid solitude and the plight of a

desperately lonely man ruminating on his afflictions among the books

of a public library in the hour before its closing.


Paraphrases from the memoir Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron.