"The Guest" is a short story written by French writer, journalist, philosopher, and Nobel Prize laureate Albert Camus. The story was published in 1957, in Camus' popular short story collection titled Exile and the Kingdom. In it, Camus writes of a French school teacher from Algerian decent named Daru, who must make a difficult decision; he will either help his fellow Frenchman—a police officer by the name of Balducci, or help his fellow Arab—a prisoner who is escorted by Balducci to the police authorities in Tinguit,\ for the murder of his cousin. In the end, Daru decides to "help them both," by giving the Arab prisoner a choice to either proceed east to Tinguit, where he will be arrested and imprisoned, or go south, where he can escape with the nomads. Surprisingly, the Arab prisoner chooses to go to Tinguit to turn himself in, leaving a message to the somewhat confused Daru that he will one day pay for what he did to his 'brother.'
Camus' intention when writing "The Guest" was to present his personal opinions and beliefs about the Algerian War of Independence and showcase his neutrality. Much like Daru, Camus faced his own French-Algerian identity crisis and refused to pick a side; his literary legacy is, essentially, a testimony for this and for his advocacy for justice and multiculturalism. However, in the story, Daru allows the Arab prisoner to make the choice for him, which basically forces him to pick a side; thus, we see that Camus' other intention was to tell us that, in this absurd world, complete neutrality is never actually possible; in the end, the people will always pledge their allegiance to someone or something, be it by force or free will. The irony of the story and its existential and absurdist elements further solidify this point.