Here at last is a retelling of an important novel from the perspective of another character, and if you were thinking Grey, the latest product for people who dream of getting chained, flogged and electrocuted in their privates by weird rich guys but would never actually do it, we are happy to disappoint you.
In The Stranger by Albert Camus, a novel we admire so much that a group of us translated it into Tagalog (See Camus in Tagalog, above), the protagonist Meursault shoots an Arab on the beach for no particular reason. The dead man doesn’t get a name or history, he’s just a corpse, a plot device to put Meursault in jail (and The Cure material for a song).
This first novel by Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud gives that man a name, a history, hopes and disappointments. It is narrated by the dead man’s brother, who sits in a bar night after night describing the murder and its aftermath. The very first line is a reply to Camus:
Mama’s still alive today.
Other famous novels reimagined from a different character’s POV: The Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’s take on Jane Eyre as told by the first Mrs Rochester; The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (The Odyssey); and we’re sure you’ll remind us of the others.