Widely considered to be an Absurdist rather than an Existentialist novel, Albert Camus' brilliant The Outsider (or The Stranger) is, in essence, an attempt to describe his belief in man's alienation from his fellow man except as part of an uncaring, amoral, godless universe.
Meursault, a pied-noir (like Camus, a French inhabitant of Algeria), fails to cry at his mother's funeral. He is alienated from the proceedings, able only to experience relative truths by his physical senses.
"Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home: 'Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have happened yesterday."
He befriends Raymond and helps him to dispose of a mistress, whose brother confronts the pair, and Raymond is injured in a knife fight. Meursault returns to the beach and shoots the brother dead, in an act not of revenge, but induced by the sun's glare. He is tried for murder where his dedication to truth leads to his conviction. He is convicted for his inability to express emotion, especially remorse. As an atheist he is outraged by the chaplain's attempt to convert him and thus subvert the earthly justice in which he believes so passionately.
Psychological self-examinations are common in French first-person narratives, but Camus’s The Outsider gave the technique of psychological depth a new twist at the time it was published. Instead of allowing the protagonist to detail a static psychology for the reader, the action and behavior were given to the reader to decipher. Camus did this because he felt that “psychology is action, not thinking about oneself.”