Born in Mondovi, Algeria, Nobel laureate Albert Camus’s background in working-class European settings and his personal familiarity with human suffering provided the setting for many of his works. His father was killed in World War I and his deaf mother worked as a housecleaner to raise her family in a tiny apartment. In his first book, Betwixt and Between (1937), he recollected his childhood:

I think of a child who lived in that poor section, that section, that house. There were only two floors and the stairs weren’t lighted. Even now, after many long years, he could find his way there in complete darkness …. His body is impregnated with that house. His legs preserve the exact measure of the height of the steps. His hand the instinctive, never vanquished horror of the banisters. Because of the roaches.

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