0143 | Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad

Context: Snow outside, great fire, comfy sofa, cosy pub, pint of Bulmers -wonderful. Shame the book was pants.

REVIEW
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.

FIRST LINE
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.

CLOSING LINE
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.

RATING
rubbish | poor | mediocre | okay | good | very good | excellent | superb

ALSO BLOGGED HELPFULLY BY
absolutely no-one that I could find. If you’ve reviewed it, comment and let me know.

  • Aethelbald March 11, 2009, 8:33 pm

    I think I’ve read everything Conrad wrote. He is, in my opinion, the greatest writer of the last 100 years. But you may be young. If so then try him again when you’re older. The idea that all literature is accessible to minds of all ages is absurd. Also, read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and compare to Heart of Darkness.

    Reply

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