Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Matter-of-fact, "objective" in the plain and detached sense
The Stranger is written in a forthright, matter-of-fact and unornamental style. There’s little color to the novel, though it has some poetic qualities. Without the occasional irony or sarcasm, however, a reader might even mistake its simplicity for boringness. Don’t be fooled. Because the novel is told by Meursault, the tone is necessarily defined by his voice. What seems "boring" is really an incisive insight into the main character. We are forced to see the world the way Meursault does; as a series of monotonous, timed, unexciting events. This makes the tone of the last two pages all the more exciting.