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Literature / The Joy

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A novel by philosopher Charles Pépin, released in 2015 in France. It is a somehow Remake/ Spiritual Sequel to Camus' The Stranger, as it features a character that greatly ressembles Meursault and his philosophy.

Solaro is a joyful man. His mom is dying, his father suffers from depression due to the latter, his business is not looking good, but still: he is always joyful, as he constantly lives in the moment and takes pleasures in everyday's little miracles (such as a flower managing to sprout from the bitumen). One day he gets assaulted and beaten up by a group of youths, he however doesn't really care and quickly goes back to his daily life, which includes having an affair with a married woman named Louise. Some later while he is with a friend, Solaro comes across the persons who beat him up and try to just pass, but his friend Ange (a racist with a hot temper) insults one of them which ends up with him taking out his gun and Solaro killing him. Solaro thus pass to judgement and is condemned to 15 years of prison (mostly due to his ever joyful attitude even in the face of his mother's death).

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Provides examples of:

  • The Anti-Nihilist: Like Meursault before him, Solaro is happy with his simple life as it is and doesn't try or want to change it. He is perfectly happy (or rather joyful) with things as they are. Even after being beaten up, he finds joy in the act of crying. This poses a problem for people as due to their believe and hope in a perfect world, they are describe as not being as joyful as Solaro in the face of (seemingly?) bad situations.
  • Determinator: Solaro's father. He was a socialist all his life, despite being a business leader and never ceased to be one, never giving up on his ideals no matter how hard times were. This however turns to be the cause of his depression: the same way he couldn't accept injustices, he just can't accept the death of his wife, which draw a stark contrast with his son, who is just plainly accepting of everything.
  • Expy: Solaro is one to Meursault. Solaro is however seemingly more humane than Meursault as he is quite sadden by his mother's death. One critique even said that Solaro was a "lover of the sun", a comment that has often been made about Meursault, and giving that both of their name are a reference to the sun.
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    • Ange is also one to Raymond.
  • Extreme Doormat: Solaro, though he seems happier than Meursault.
  • Foil: Solaro's brother, Mathieu and their father to Solaro. While Mathieu is describes as the kind of guy who is often "elsewhere" (that is to understand, always thinking about something else), his father is always hoping to change things for the better. Both of them want things to be different and are never shown to be satisfied with their current situation, though giving their loved one is dying, it's no surprise.
  • Go Among Mad People: A few years after his imprisonement, Solaro is transferred to a mental institute as he doesn't exhibit any sadness or disturbance in prison, and people are convinced that something is wrong in his head. However he doesn't try to disprove this and just avoid swallowing pills, and still manage to be joyful.
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  • The Hero Dies
  • Immodest Orgasm: Solaro and Louise are frequently having this.
  • Insistent Terminology: A meta-exemple. Charles Pépin, the author of the novel, insists that Solaro isn't happy (which he defines as a sense of satisfaction over a general existence), but joyful/cheerful.
  • Ironic Name: "Ange" isn't a really nice guy.
  • Last-Name Basis
  • Meaningful Name: Solaro, a reference to the sun and his ever-brighting attitude.
  • Peeping Tom: The guards at the prison does this ocasionally when Louise and Solaro are having a conjugal visit.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: The press paints Solaro as a rich racist due to him being friend with Ange, a radical right supporter. But it is far from the truth.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Solaro manages to paint Ange (see above) in a sympathetic light.
  • The Stoic: Solaro is one in the philosophical meaning of the term. He just accepts everything and is simply happy that "the world exist as it is", and doesn't wish for things to be different.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Solaro carries a relationship with Louise, a married woman.
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