She is sitting on a bus crossing the wintry Algerian desert, seated tight up against her slumbering merchant husband and surrounded by Arabs tucked deep into their burnooses to ward off the cold and the fine grains of sand that find their way through cracks in the vehicle. Suddenly, she notices a French soldier across the aisle who gives her a glance, carrying just a tinge of suggestion.
That glance and a couple of other feeling states to follow are about as far as the “adultery” in this story’s title ever goes, but it sets in motion a long and impassioned emotional storm inside our protagonist, with the reverberations extending far beyond this story and her life.
What transpires from there in Albert Camus’s 1957 short story, The Adulterous Woman, speaks in profound and enduring ways to the human condition. Which is why its mere 30 pages and few scenes carry such resonance for this and every other time.
The woman’s name is Janine, and she and her husband Marcel are French-Alg...Read More