I read Camus' 'The Plague' years back as an undergraduate. As I had read Camus' much aclaimed novel, 'The Outsider' earlier, and not having been impressed with the same, I was in two minds about reading the same. But after reading the first two pages, I could not put it aside, literally. I was eerily entranced by the unfolding saga of a city in the grips of plague. Though the existential novel is written in a realistic vein, it was meant to be a metaphysical and surreal experience.
I was neither moved to tears or mesmerised by the actual beaty of narration. The sheer scenario left me spellbound.
At the time I was unaware of the nihilistic view of the world that Camus, Nietzhe, Sartre, Jenet etc presented in their literary works, I could not disagree with them either. If today literature is all about looking ahead, rejecting hopelessness and nihilistic tendencies altogether, it used to be the reigning romance of the seventies. Even then I would rate 'The Plague' as one of the 1000 books that one must read in one's lifetime.