The Death of Camus

November 2020 9781787383869 184pp
EU Customers


In 1960 a mysterious car crash killed Albert Camus and his publisher Michel Gallimard, who was behind the wheel. Based on meticulous research, Giovanni Catelli builds a compelling case that the 46-year-old French Algerian Nobel laureate was the victim of premeditated murder: he was silenced by the KGB.

The Russians had a motive: Camus had campaigned tirelessly against the Soviet crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and vociferously supported the awarding of the Nobel Prize to the dissident novelist Boris Pasternak, which enraged Moscow.

Sixty years after Camus’ death, Catelli takes us back to a murky period in the Cold War. He probes the relationship between Camus and Pasternak, the fraught publication of Doctor Zhivago, the penetration of France by Soviet spies, and the high price paid by those throughout Europe who resisted the USSR.


‘Mr. Catelli’s case is compelling … his book provides a clear and useful window into the currents that political writers were forced to navigate during the Cold War.’ — Wall Street Journal

‘An investigation into the astonishing claim that the Nobel prize winner was killed by the Soviet secret police.’ — The Sunday Times

‘Published in English for the first time, the Italian poet and historian Giovanni Catelli argues that Camus, author of the existential masterpiece The Stranger, was murdered by the Soviet security agency.’ — The Telegraph

‘Kisil maintains that Zabrana did his utmost to find “credible and objective sources” of information in the USSR. “It’s possible — and actually even probable — that he could have met someone from this circle of people who told him about the assassination of Camus, and who themselves had heard it from someone close to the upper echelons of the Communist Party,” he said.’ — Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

‘Eloquently written.’ — Green Left

‘Catelli learned not to give up hope in the time since he discovered the testimony of Jan Zábrana.  His book reads like a detective novel without resolution or punishment — no one was or will be jailed for murdering Camus.’ — Pagina 12 (Argentina)

‘A text of seductive literary, biographical, critical and historical value.’ — Avvenire

‘Catelli succeeds in convincing us that Camus could have been assassinated by the KGB.’ — Le Monde Libertaire

‘Fast-paced and entertaining, reads like a spy novel.’ — La Capital (Argentina)

‘Catelli contends that the KGB was responsible for the auto accident that killed Camus […] More controversially, he also argues that the French government was complicit in the killing.’ — Inside Hook



Giovanni Catelli is a writer and poet, and an expert on cultural history behind the Iron Curtain. His short stories have appeared in the Corriere della Sera and La Nouvelle Revue Française. His books have been translated variously into Czech, Russian, Ukrainian, French and Spanish.

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