The Meursault Investigation

by

Kamel Daoud

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Themes and Colors
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Meursault Investigation, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Colonialism and its Aftermath

Set in Algeria before and after the transition from colonial rule to independence, The Meursault Investigation reimagines Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger from an Algerian Arab perspective. Meursault, the protagonist of The Stranger, murders an Algerian man who is known simply as “The Arab;” this crime is flashpoint for Meursault’s existential anxieties, and Camus never discusses “The Arab’s” character or his unjust death. In contrast, Daoud gives the murdered man a name

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Language and Storytelling

A retelling of Albert Camus’s The Stranger from an Algerian perspective, The Meursault Investigation is structured around two different and often contradictory stories: the book Meursault writes in France, and the continuous monologue through which Harun gives his own account of his brother Musa’s death. As a young man, Harun has several significant encounters with language and storytelling—from the newspaper articles that obscure the circumstances of Musa’s murder, to the famous novel that frames…

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Religion and Nihilism

A retelling of Albert Camus’s The Stranger, The Meursault Investigation is a philosophical novel taking place within an increasingly religious society. Harun often criticizes religion, which makes him a pariah in his conservative Muslim community. Ironically, his aversion to religion links him to Meursault, his enemy, who refuses efforts to convert him to Christianity throughout his own narrative. However, while Meursault’s rejection of religion seems to spring from extreme nihilism (the belief that…

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Justice and Retribution

A reimagining of Albert Camus’s absurdist novel The Stranger, The Meursault Investigation centers around two parallel crimes—the murder of a young Algerian man, Musa, by a Frenchman named Meursault, and the murder of another Frenchman committed by Musa’s brother, Harun, years later in retribution. Harun’s life is dominated by his desire to avenge Musa’s death, but he also feels a deep sense of remorse for his own crime. In both cases…

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Grief and Family Life

A retelling of Albert Camus’s The Stranger, The Meursault Investigation depicts an Algerian family irrevocably broken by the callous murder of the older son, Musa, by a Frenchman named Meursault. Although Harun is very young when Musa dies, his life is forever transformed both by grief and by the instability and dysfunction that characterize Mama afterwards. In fact, while Harun and Mama have to support each other economically and emotionally, grief and…

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