My favorite novel. My father's least favorite. I have heard the character of Mersault described as "a perfect Rorschach test for the reader" - and this is, of course, true. Mersault gives almost none of his own thoughts, mostly relying on physical descriptions to describe events of enormous emotional impact. Take, for example, the event that opens the novel - the death of his mother. We hear little more about the funeral than details about the heat and the flies. And yet, no matter how you feel personally about the morality (or lack thereof) of the main character, what you bring with you to "The Stranger" is not all that you take away - something is lost, and something is given. I sometimes wonder when thinking about this book what my life would be like if I hadn't read it. Then, I realize that I don't really care to know.