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May 16, 2022


#Classic Joseph Conrad

by N@ncy

  • Author: Joseph Conrad  (1857-1924)
  • Publish: 1920
  • Trivia: The novel took twenty years to complete.
  • Conrad started it in the late 1890’s and completed in 1918.
  • Genre: novel
  • Monthly plan


Quick Scan:

  1. 3 boats:
  2. Hermit (yacht owned by rich Englishman Mr.Travers)
  3. Lightning (Captain Tom Lingard, adventurer)
  4. Emma (old schooner purposely run aground by Lingard to use as a weapons store)
  5. Tom Lingard, a sort of Humphry Bogartish, cynical
  6. gold-digger trader in the South Seas discovers the Hermit stranded in soft mud.
  7. The yacht is near a dangerous island
  8. …that is experiencing political strife among
  9. other characters….Wajo leader (Hassim), outlaw (Daman),
  10. local chief (Belarab) and rival chief (Tengga).
  11. I’ll spare you the intrigues but they all are
  12. …trying to regain power and the weapons on the Emma!
  13. Captain Lingard  wants to keep the navy out of HIS territory and
  14. ..sets out to rescue the Hermit (John and Edith Travers) and
  15. …get involved with island politics.
  16. SNAFU: Lingard falls in love with Edith, the bored wife.



  1. This book is an an adventure of the sea that has a romance woven into it.
  2. This tension between Captian Lingard and Edith Travers fuels the plot.
  3. IMHO…this book ran out of “fuel”  very quickly.
  4. Weak point: NO action in begin of part 1.
  5. Conrad probably did not get the MEMO from writing class
  6. you have to ‘hook’ the reader.
  7. I kept reading because I promised myself finish this book
  8. otherwise I doubt I would continue
  9. Last page of part 1: smoke signal on shore captures
  10. Capt T. Lingard’s attention
  11. ….he knows what is going on but this reader is still clueless.
  12. Pace:  very slow and finally the last 150 pages saved what was left of this book.
  13. Character change:  Lingard admits on
  14. pg 242 ” I am no longer the man
  15. … to whom you (Carter)  spoke that night in Carimata.” (pg 16).
  16. Captain Lingard rescued the white people on the Hermit
  17. …but lost his soul in the attempt  and failed to
  18. fulfill his debt to the Malayan prince, Hassim.


Last thoughts:

  1. This was not Joseph Conrad’s best work
  2. …not by a long shot.
  3. The book felt like it ran this long, exhausting marathon
  4. …only to collapse into a heap,
  5. huffing and puffing just before it crossed the three-star line.
  6. But I’m trying to be kind to this author because his best novels
  7. ….enthralled me:  Lord Jim and  Nostromo.
  8. Read The Rescue… if you are really interested in his writing as a whole.
  9. Sorry,…not every book is a home run.
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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. May 16 2022

    I loved Lord Jim (book & movie) so might leave it at that for now.


    • May 16 2022

      Nostromo…not often seen on reading lists..but is worth one’s reading time.
      Ready to start Grand Days (F. Moorhouse)…it is just the subject matter League of Nations…doesn’t really entice me to open the book! But, I’m going to try!


      • May 16 2022

        That’s one of the things I loved about it, but Edith is the real draw card for me. I hope I love her as much as I did in my early thirties!

        Liked by 1 person

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