The Meursault Investigation

by

Kamel Daoud

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The Interlocutor Character Analysis

A young student who has sought out Harun and wants to hear his story about Musa. The two frequently meet at Harun’s favorite bar. Little information is given about the interlocutor, and this purposeful vagueness makes him a stand-in for the reader, allowing Harun to discard the traditional boundaries of storytelling and address the reader directly.

The Interlocutor Quotes in The Meursault Investigation

The The Meursault Investigation quotes below are all either spoken by The Interlocutor or refer to The Interlocutor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Other Press edition of The Meursault Investigation published in 2015.
Chapter 1 Quotes

And that’s where you go wrong, you and all your predecessors. The absurd is what my brother and I carry on our backs or in the bowels of our land, not what the other was or did.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Meursault, The Interlocutor
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Who, me? Nostalgic for French Algeria? No! You haven’t understood a word I’ve said. I was just trying to tell you that back then, we Arabs gave the impression that we were waiting, not going around in circles like today.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), The Interlocutor
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Interlocutor Character Timeline in The Meursault Investigation

The timeline below shows where the character The Interlocutor appears in The Meursault Investigation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun says he knows his interlocutor has questions, but asks him to pay attention to his story first. This is not... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun wants to tell the story of his brother, Musa. He tells his interlocutor that by coming into the bar, he has “opened a bag.” He asks the interlocutor... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
After the interlocutor has finished reading, Harun explains the passage. After Meursault’s mother died, he “falls into idleness... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Harun sketches out Meursault’s story for the interlocutor. Meursault kills an Arab who, in his novel, apparently lacks a name. Then he explains... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun exhorts the interlocutor to finish his drink. He’s been waiting for someone to listen to him for years.... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
Harun tells the interlocutor that he only had one brother and no sister. Musa was older than him, and... (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
Harun warns the interlocutor to make a note of Musa’s name, otherwise he will stop telling the story. He... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Oran is a city “with its legs spread open toward the sea.” Harun tells the interlocutor to walk through the old neighborhoods and look at the port, which is “like an... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun often repeats Musa’s name so it doesn’t vanish. He wants the interlocutor to write in down in large letters. As they prepare to leave, Harun insists on... (full context)
Chapter 2
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...here looking for something—“money, or the sea, or a heart.” He’s amazed that the young interlocutor has come here looking for him. He sees another customer he knows and warns the... (full context)
Chapter 3
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
...However, he decides to leave the revelation for another day; he’s not sure if the interlocutor is trustworthy. (full context)
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
Harun orders the interlocutor to get another round of drinks. Returning to his tale, he explains that he eventually... (full context)
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...inside my skin” and her frequent bursts of angry passion. He offers to take the interlocutor to her funeral. (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
...dark. He hates the silence of night, because it awakens his memory. He encourages the interlocutor to have another drink, and points out the “bottle ghost,” who is here again. He... (full context)
Chapter 4
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Besides some happy moments, Harun had “a ghost’s childhood.” He knows the interlocutor doesn’t want to hear about his life, though—he must want to track down Musa’s body... (full context)
Chapter 5
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
The next time Harun meets the interlocutor, he praises the man’s patience in staying to hear the story. However, Harun warns that... (full context)
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Harun also warns the interlocutor that he knows almost nothing about the “geography” of his story. He never returns to... (full context)
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
...day when he was idle. He swore never to talk about it again, but the interlocutor has loosened his tongue. (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...this way, all his attempts to relive the crime led to nothing. He tells the interlocutor there’s no point trying to track Musa down in any cemetery or geographical location. (full context)
Chapter 7
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Meeting his interlocutor again at his own apartment, Harun turns down the offer of a coffee. He says... (full context)
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...one,” the Frenchman Harun killed. That man was very large and blonde. Harun knows his interlocutor is wondering who that man was and what happened. He says that “there’s always another”... (full context)
Chapter 8
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
...Harun imagines that Musa is talking to him. When you murder someone, he tells the interlocutor, your mind immediately starts to make up explanations in order to absolve your guilt. (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
...the village is concerned about vanished French people. Back in the present, Harun tells the interlocutor that he now knows Harun’s secrets. The “bottle ghost” might have heard as well, but... (full context)
Chapter 9
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Harun insists that he’s not telling the interlocutor about his crime in order to relieve his conscience. He’s not afraid of going to... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Harun remarks that the interlocutor seems surprised by his articulate French. Harun says that he learned at school, by teaching... (full context)
Chapter 10
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
...up the land and the rest of the sky and the houses.” Harun urges the interlocutor to look around him, where all the structures of the city are being devoured, down... (full context)
Chapter 11
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Harun explains to the interlocutor why Mama decided he must kill Joseph (he believes that Mama chose her victim, even... (full context)
Chapter 12
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Harun tells the interlocutor to look around the city, which contains everything from Ottoman walls to colonial buildings to... (full context)
Chapter 13
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun wishes he could speak about his life in a better order, but the interlocutor will have to figure it out when he writes his own book. Harun continues his... (full context)
Chapter 14
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
In fact, Meriem is writing her thesis on Meursault’s book, just like the interlocutor. She waits until Mama has left to show Harun the book, which is small and... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun remarks that the interlocutor is smiling, and admits that actually he made this anecdote up. He could never have... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun tells the interlocutor that this may be their last meeting and tells him to summon the “bottle ghost”... (full context)
Chapter 15
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
Harun asks the interlocutor to forgive him for his age and tendency to ramble. He feels that after living... (full context)
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
The interlocutor asks if Harun believes in God, and he laughs. He says that people shouldn’t ask... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
The bar is going to close soon, and Harun tells the interlocutor that they need to finish their drinks. It seems like a joke that the only... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
...wonders aloud if his story is “suitable,” but it’s all he can give to the interlocutor. He could be a compulsive liar who’s just giving him false information to fill up... (full context)