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.