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If he is, as Camus says in his 1955 preface, 'the only Christ whom we deserve', then we have fallen very low. When the police intervene and decide to check up on Raymond, Meursault again shows an attitude towards truth which is decidedly cavalier. Although he has absolutely no evidence that Raymond is telling the truth, he goes down to the police station to support Raymond's claim that the girl had been cheating him. It is not the action of a man who is 'inspired by a passion ... for the absolute and for truth'.

You are given a month offwork and you have to go somewhere. But just as bare mountains and gothic architecture became fashionable in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century partly as a result of the way Rousseau, Wordsworth and Chateaubriand wrote about them, and it became fashionable to go to Scotland only after the publication of the novels of Sir Walter Scott, so the extraordinary success of the Club Mediterranee can be linked to the impact of three writers: Andre Gide, D. H. Lawrence and Albert Camus.

Meursault's mother was quite old. It was therefore perfectly natural that she should die. The Christian ritual of mourning the dead is also peculiarly out of place in a hot Mediterranean country like Algeria, where Christianity has never been more than a covering for the basically pagan attitudes which match the climate and the landscape. If Meursault declines the opportunity of working in Paris, and prefers to concentrate on the pleasant crispness of a hand towel at midday, this is because he gives justifiable precedence to the certainties of immediate physical sensations 24 Albert Camus over the more dubious satisfactions offered by the bitch goddess, success.

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