"The Plague" by Albert Camus
1957 Nobel Prize Winner For Literature
The plague strikes Oran, in western Algeria, in the 1940's. Oran is a brown,dusty dismal city. Life is dull and predictable. It has no gardens or pigeons. It is baking hot in the summer and muddy in the winter. But on April 16th, with spring in the air, the rats begin to die. The first human dies on April 30th.
The local government is slow to react. Reality is only faced when the death toll hits 30 a day. The city is closed. The port is shut down. Gas, food and electricity are rationed. People are forced to stay where they are. Visitors cannot leave and residents cannot return home.
"The Plague" explores the emotional turmoil of the citizens, collectively and individually. People are slow to face the reality of the situation. Even with the death toll steadily increasing, they go about their daily life. The go to work. The congregate at cafes, bars and cinemas. And the mood swings from disbelief to panic. They go through a period of extravagance. Despair sets in for a while and eventually with time indifference sets in.
This is a book well worth reading. It's a calm, objective view of the ways in which the human race deals with what life throws at it.