I'm reading The Stranger by Albert Camus (translated by Matthew ward) in which there's this sentence:

Then there was the church and the villagers on the sidewalks, the red geraniums on the graves in the cemetery, Pérez fainting (he crumpled like a rag doll), the blood-red earth spilling over Maman’s casket, the white flesh of the roots mixed in with it, more people, voices, the village, waiting in front of a café, the incessant drone of the motor, and my joy when the bus entered the nest of lights that was Algiers and I knew I was going to go to bed and sleep for twelve hours.

I'm having trouble understanding what he meant when he used the phrase "nest of lights". I only know the meaning of nest as a place where a bird lives.


1 Answer 1


A nest of lights = a place where lights nest or gather together. It's a bit figurative but still very straightforward. – userr2684291 Jun 28 '17 at 14:48

Yes, it's just a metaphor combining the common definition of "nest" (like a bird's nest) and "lights" – Andrew Jun 28 '17 at 15:06

This is poetic language - while the literal meaning is as described above the phrase also, at the same time, retains metaphorical deeper meanings. In these deeper meanings just as a nest is a birthplace so Algiers is a birthplace of lights and lights can be metaphorically descriptive of Algiers inhabitants (enlightened people, perhaps artists, philosophers, other people he can relate with), beyond the literal meaning. So he feels joy not only because he'll be able to sleep but also, in this deeper level of meaning, because he's coming to a place where enlightened people are created. – Brillig Jun 29 '17 at 18:24

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