Context: Snow outside, great fire, comfy sofa, cosy pub, pint of Bulmers -wonderful. Shame the book was pants.
As with Heart of Darkness, I found this a labour to read. I have no idea why Conrad so often chooses to have his books narrated. His printers could save a fortune in ink on quotation marks if they weren’t. It seems to me utterly pointless to have the whole story of Jim’s life narrated by some guy in a club somewhere. Sure, bits of it, but what does such a device achieve for the reader? Nowt.
The first part of the story of Jim’s life is actually very very good. I could quite imagine it making a good film actually. The rest of the book peters out into meandering storylines before settling on a Pacific island shootout. But the whole thing is laden with such pathos that it all gets a bit much really.
But, I hear you say, if you enjoyed the first part, why not give it a higher rating. Well, it turns out that it was lifted almost entirely from history as the Wikipedia entry on the book will tell you. Now I can elaborate upon the ironies of history myself so I don’t see why I should pay to read someone else’s efforts.
So, all in all, a very disappointing read and it’ll be a while before I attempt Conrad again despite having Nostromo on the shelf here.
He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.
He feels it himself, and says often that he is “Preparing to leave all this; preparing to leave…” while he waves his hand sadly at his butterflies.
rubbish | poor | mediocre | okay | good | very good | excellent | superb
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