The Meursault Investigation

by

Kamel Daoud

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A man Harun frequently sees at the bar where he spends most of his nights, as well as many of his meetings with the interlocutor. The ghost devotes himself to cutting and arranging various newspaper clippings for no apparent reason. Harun sees him as pathetic and sometimes accuses him of eavesdropping, but eventually he invites the man over to hear his life story, whereupon Harun discovers that the man is deaf and mute, unable to understand anything that he’s saying. Their interaction emphasizes the ultimate futility of Harun’s quest and the extent to which they are linked by mutual isolation, despite Harun’s desire to differentiate himself.
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The Bottle Ghost Character Timeline in The Meursault Investigation

The timeline below shows where the character The Bottle Ghost appears in The Meursault Investigation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...he knows and warns the interlocutor not to turn around. This man is the “bottle ghost,” and he and Harun always nod to each other but never speak. (full context)
Chapter 3
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
...his memory. He encourages the interlocutor to have another drink, and points out the “bottle ghost,” who is here again. He always sits at the other end of the bar. Harun... (full context)
Chapter 5
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Again, Harun points out the “bottle ghost,” “my double,” at the other end of the bar. The ghost has the same ritual... (full context)
Chapter 6
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun breaks off and notices that the “bottle ghost” is absent tonight. He imagines that the ghost is at home “reading books nobody understands.” (full context)
Chapter 7
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Harun wonders what the “bottle ghost” does on Fridays. Maybe he goes to the beach, or returns home to a wife... (full context)
Chapter 8
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
...in the present, Harun tells the interlocutor that he now knows Harun’s secrets. The “bottle ghost” might have heard as well, but Harun doesn’t really care. (full context)
Chapter 11
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
...out of his reverie and addresses the interlocutor, saying that he should invite the “bottle ghost” to join them. (full context)
Chapter 12
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
...has died for Algeria or because of it. Harun asks the interlocutor if the “bottle ghost” is refusing to answer him. He says there’s a precise formula that can elicit a... (full context)
Chapter 14
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
...interlocutor that this may be their last meeting and tells him to summon the “bottle ghost” again. When the ghost comes over, it becomes apparent that he is deaf and mute,... (full context)
Chapter 15
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
...seems like a joke that the only person witnessing their discussion is the deaf “bottle ghost.” (full context)