Nostromo

Nostromo[Download] ✤ Nostromo By Joseph Conrad – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Joseph Conrad born J zef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski December August was a Polish British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language He was granted British na Joseph Conrad born J zef Teodor Konrad KorzeniowskiDecember Augustwas a Polish British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language He was granted British nationality inbut always considered himself a Pole Though he did not speak English fluently until he was in his twenties and always with a marked accent , he was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non English sensibility into English literature He wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an impassive, inscrutable universe Joseph Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works still contain elements of nineteenth century realism His narrative style and anti heroic characters have influenced many authors, including T S Eliot, William Faulkner, Graham Greene, and recently Salman Rushdie Many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, Conrad s works Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew on his native Poland s national experiences and on his personal experiences in the French and British merchant navies to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European dominated world, while profoundly exploring human psychology Appreciated early on by literary critics, his fiction and nonfiction have since been seen as almost prophetic, in the light of subsequent national and international disasters of the th and st centuries. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad is a true classic, one of the greatest English language novels ever written Not far into the tale, I came across these lines about a silver mine owned by one Charles Gould, a proper Englishman by ancestry and disposition, a gent who lives with his wife in a mansion inherited from his father located in Conrad s fictional country of Costaguana in the northwest quadrant of South America, a country sharing much geography with real life Colombia Mrs Gould knew the history Nostromo by Joseph Conrad is a true classic, one of the greatest English language novels ever written Not far into the tale, I came across these lines about a silver mine owned by one Charles Gould, a proper Englishman by ancestry and disposition, a gent who lives with his wife in a mansion inherited from his father located in Conrad s fictional country of Costaguana in the northwest quadrant of South America, a country sharing much geography with real life Colombia Mrs Gould knew the history of the San Tom mine Worked in the early days mostly by means of lashes on the backs of slaves, its yield had been paid for in its own weight of human bones Whole tribes of Indians had perished in the exploitation and then the mine was abandoned, since with the primitive method it had ceased to make a profitable return, no matter how many corpses were thrown into its maw Vintage Joseph Conrad powerful language, powerful images, powerful statement on culture and society Here s a quote from author critic Eduardo Galeano If the material bases of a country belong to foreigners and its society is organized along concentration camp lines, what national culture can flourish and breathe freely, shared by all I have the Wordsworth Classics edition with a scholarly introduction by Robert Hamson The professor emphasizes Nostromo is one of the few novels written in English during the early 20th century that adequately registers the dynamics of a society one of the earliest English novels to engage with the rhetoric and practices of American imperialism that have come to dominate the twentieth century and one of the few English novels that deals, with any sophistication, with the world of multi national corporate enterprise that we all inhabit Later in his essay, Prof Hamson goes on to say, The silver of the mine is the novel s symbol for material interests the Dickensian phrase that Conrad uses for what we now call market forces Conrad explores their operation in relation to imperialism material interests represent not the obvious extermination of local people and exploitation of local resources that characterized the first wave of South American colonization, but thesubtle exploitation of people and resources through North American and European penetration and domination of the economy So, based on thesubtle exploitation of people coupled with the frequent characterization of all colors and races of the indigenous population as barbarous, it appears I have the answer to the question Eduardo Galeano poses as it relates to native cultures in the novel none The natives are there only to provide the needed hard labor until they drop dead.I highlight the cultural and economic conditions underpinning the tale s unfolding drama to underscore any high adventure, any gain in prestige and wealth enjoyed by Charles Gould, Nostromo and others in the novel will be achieved on the dark copper backs of a dying native population If only Costaguana shared the same air and atmosphere as the island in Michal Ajvaz s novel, The Golden Age upon landing, preparing to launch their attack, each wave of Conquistadors immediately undergo a complete softening of the brain their mindset replicates the islanders thoughts of conquest vanish, replaced by a desire to do nothingthan listen to the hidden music of wind and water from dawn to dusk, to luxuriate in warm feelings of the present moment Nope, no Michal Ajvaz supernatural elements in Joseph Conrad s ferociously realistic novel But the great Polish author does pepper his adventure yarn with humor For example, strolling a corridor in their mansion, Charles Gould speaks to his dear wife, refined, cultured, English born Do a Emilia, about their amassing stupendous wealth and his command of Costaguana, both thanks to the reopening of his silver mine They had stopped near the cage The parrot, catching the sounds of a word belonging to his vocabulary, was moved to interfere Parrots are very human Viva Costaguana he shrieked, with intense self assertion, and, instantly ruffling up his feathers, assumed an air of puffed up somnolence behind the glittering wires Sounds like Charles Gould s Costaguana parrot could be the ancestor of the parrot mentioned in Juan Gabriel V squez s The Sound of Things Falling, a famous parrot kept in Pablo Escobar s zoo that could recite the entire lineup of the Colombian national soccer team.Back on material interests driving action in Nostromo Here s an excerpt from an exchange between Charles Gould and Holroyd, an American baron of industry reminding one of John D Rockefeller or J P Morgan Holroyd agrees to provide vast sums of money needed to reopen Gould s silver mine Holroyd speaks with pride of his country, the United States Time itself has got to wait on the greatest country in the whole of God s Universe We shall be giving the word for everything industry, trade, law, journalism, art, politics, and religion, from Cape Horn clear over to Smith s Sound, and beyond, too, if anything worth taking hold of turns up at the North Pole And then we shall have the leisure to take in hand the outlying islands and continents of the earth We shall run the world s business whether the world likes it or not Keep in mind Joseph Conrad wrote these words in 1904, as if his could see with crystalline sight and insight into the future, even the distant future stretching all the way to our present day Astonishing As reviewer, I m well to stress economic and social context but I also need to emphasize Joseph Conrad writes Nostromo at the height of his literary powers and creates a vivid Costaguana filled with memorable, fully developed characters An entire essay could be composed on at least a dozen of their number but I ll conclude with a brief portrayal of three Antonia Avellanos Twenty six year old daughter of one of the most prominent families in Costaguana, Antonia is a highly educated, poised, polished lady, the envy of all the woman who have had the opportunity to set eyes on her And what man could gaze on her ravishing beauty without falling deeply in love with Antonia Martin DecoudRefined intellectual and journalist, Decoud is native to Costaguana but received his education in Paris Martin Decoud, the dilettante in life, imagined himself to derive an artistic pleasure from watching the picturesque extreme of wrongheadedness into which an honest, almost sacred, conviction may drive a man It is like madness It must be because it s self destructive, Decoud had said to himself often It seemed to him that every conviction, as soon as it became effective, turned into that form of dementia the gods send upon those they wish to destroy But he enjoyed the bitter flavour of that example with the zest of a connoisseur in the art of his choice Now why would a man like Decord return from Paris and remain in the hinterland of Costaguana, a land he scorns Answer he s fallen madly in love with Antonia Giovanni Battista Fidanza aka Nostromo This Nostromo, sir, a man absolutely above reproach, became the terror of all the thieves in the town So proclaims Captain Mitchell, influential representative of the shipping company for Costaguana And this from Martin Decoud, You have seen him pass by after his labours on his famous horse to dazzle the girls in some ballroom with an earthen floor He is a fortunate fellow His work is an exercise of personal powers his leisure is spent in receiving the marks of extraordinary adulation And he likes it too Can anybody befortunate To be feared and admired As readers, we have an opportunity to behold Nostromo exercising his extraordinary, dazzling powers when he s charged with transporting silver on a large sailboat at night and encounters multiple dangers To echo Captain Mitchell, A man in a thousand If you were to read only one English language classic in your lifetime, you could do no better than Joseph Conrad s Nostromo.Joseph Conrad, 1857 1924 Nostromo, Joseph Conrad s South American novel reminds me somehow of Ayn Rand s Atlas Shrugged, perhaps the setting of mines in South America The underlying political ideologies are also reminiscent to some extent on Rand s objectivism, and both author s guileless mistrust of democracy ambles towards, but never wholly approaches, a Nietzschean ideal In this aspect, Nostromo the incorruptible can be compared and contrasted with Kurtz, Conrad s archetypal villain from Heart of Darkness Wherea Nostromo, Joseph Conrad s South American novel reminds me somehow of Ayn Rand s Atlas Shrugged, perhaps the setting of mines in South America The underlying political ideologies are also reminiscent to some extent on Rand s objectivism, and both author s guileless mistrust of democracy ambles towards, but never wholly approaches, a Nietzschean ideal In this aspect, Nostromo the incorruptible can be compared and contrasted with Kurtz, Conrad s archetypal villain from Heart of Darkness Whereas Kurtz was a tragic, fallen figure, Nostromo can be seen as perhaps Conrad s vision of an ideal though also a tragic hero This philosophy can be glimpsed obliquely in Rand s flawed masterpiece and can be read serenely and politely in Conrad s noble prose Perhaps Rand complimented Conrad in her own romantic realism with vague but discernable allusions to Conrad s earlier work Nostromo is also reminiscent of Hemingway s For Whom the Bell Tolls with its glaringly simple, straightforward and blunt depiction of revolution and of the ugliness that follows along with it yet Conrad describes the revolution indirectly, almost as an off stage action in a play, and looks back on the time abstractly, and with not some little sympathy Finally, Nostromo is also representative of Conrad s brilliant use of time and transition, piecing the tale together almost surreptitiously, eluding the reader with casual dismissals of a chronological timeline and varying scope and perspective.One of his best Joseph Conrad, who knew the human nature inside out, telling the story of Nostromo and portraying his personages is ironic and even slightly derisive Every man, somewhere deep inside, has his own share of rascality And every human doing has two sides Action is consolatory It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions Only in the conduct of our action can we find the sense of mastery over the Fates.The events take place in the South American country of Costaguana, which is Joseph Conrad, who knew the human nature inside out, telling the story of Nostromo and portraying his personages is ironic and even slightly derisive Every man, somewhere deep inside, has his own share of rascality And every human doing has two sides Action is consolatory It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions Only in the conduct of our action can we find the sense of mastery over the Fates.The events take place in the South American country of Costaguana, which is being torn with greed, political ambitions, poverty and revolutions They had stopped near the cage The parrot, catching the sound of a word belonging to his vocabulary, was moved to interfere Parrots are very human Viva Costaguana he shrieked, with intense self assertion, and, instantly ruffling up his feathers, assumed an air of puffed up somnolence behind the glittering wires.There always are pushers and those who are pushed In all these households she could hear stories of political outrage friends, relatives, ruined, imprisoned, killed in the battles of senseless civil wars, barbarously executed in ferocious proscriptions, as though the government of the country had been a struggle of lust between bands of absurd devils let loose upon the land with sabres and uniforms and grandiloquent phrases And on all the lips she found a weary desire for peace, the dread of officialdom with its nightmarish parody of administration without law, without security, and without justice.One day the pushed ones grow tired of being cat s paws and rebel Some outwardly, some inwardly But anyway, in the end they turn out to be the ones who pay for their rebellion Between 1902 and the year of its publication 1904 , Joseph Conrad was caught in an abyss of depression, financial collapse and severe gout, but somehow still managed to write what is a deep and adventurous novel, albeit a dark one Nostromo A Tale of the Seaboard, was originally planned as a short story but was to become his longest work, with the composition it would lead him to say I see nothing, I read nothing It is like a kind of tomb which is also hell where one must write, write, write Between 1902 and the year of its publication 1904 , Joseph Conrad was caught in an abyss of depression, financial collapse and severe gout, but somehow still managed to write what is a deep and adventurous novel, albeit a dark one Nostromo A Tale of the Seaboard, was originally planned as a short story but was to become his longest work, with the composition it would lead him to say I see nothing, I read nothing It is like a kind of tomb which is also hell where one must write, write, write Nostromo was received poorly back in the day, a product not so much of its characters or their complexities, but of the plotting It s no doubt a well oiled machine, but is overwhelmed by too many pieces I can say it took well over a hundred pages too finally grasp hold of it s difficult narrative, but even after the final sentences, was still left pondering, just how on earth do I rate this Set in the fictional Latin American country of Costaguana, and a silver mine, the novel has so much going on, but simple put is based around one thing, a crisis A crisis by which the province passes from the chaos of post colonial misrule to the unquiet prosperity of Anglo American imperial capitalism Two key men are important to the story, Nostromo himself, the trusted boss of European laborers, and Martin Decoud, a shady journalist working for an evenshady government, who s aim is to smuggle a last shipment of silver out of the Occidental Province and thus ensure continued American financial backing Of course this failed, leading to almost total chaos The country simmers in the sweltering heat, with labor troubles, Catholic priests going to war with American Protestant evangelists, factions clamoring for the invasion of Costaguana and the majority of characters either killed off, or left physically and mentally damaged.Decoud and Nostromo, like the book itself, are engaged through the first half of their stories in discovering the flaws and corruption of their society, and there is certainly a lot of that.I could never take sides, didn t trust anyone, and didn t really like anyone either.Most of what goes on is, to put it bluntly, ruthless Politically, this is a serious work, and just goes to show what can happen when the people you think are in charge, are just as much the scoundrels as the scoundrels themselves And yet the novel somehow presents that actions are taken admirably, and with l I can understand the determination of each and every character, even though I couldn t really care less of the consequences Through backstory, historical facts on the region, flashbacks and anachrony, Conrad s stylistic innovation gives the reader plenty, and I mean plenty, to chew on.His lavish storytelling on civilization and social conventions is so well done, it has me thinking of him wondering around south America with map and compass looking for some inspiration.And that s why in the end Nostromo was worthy of four stars As somewhere in there is an adventure story, just without any real hero s It s no Moby Dick, or Robinson Crusoe, but does walk the same path, just in a darker andcomplex way.Nostromo on the whole may be a difficult, unconventional novel, and in anyone else s hands, might not have worked If F Scott Fitzgerald really did say I d rather have written Conrad s Nostromo than any other novel , then I m glad he didn t, as it s just not a Fitzgerald type novel in any way shape or form nothere is no peace and no rest in the development of material interests They have their law, and their justice But it is founded on expediency, and it is inhuman it is without rectitude, without the continuity and the force that can be found only in a moral principle p423 On the reread I feel that this unrelentingly bleak novel is the novel of the twentieth century, at least for a fair proportion of the population of the world, this could be the country of Heart of Darkness once it hadnothere is no peace and no rest in the development of material interests They have their law, and their justice But it is founded on expediency, and it is inhuman it is without rectitude, without the continuity and the force that can be found only in a moral principle p423 On the reread I feel that this unrelentingly bleak novel is the novel of the twentieth century, at least for a fair proportion of the population of the world, this could be the country of Heart of Darkness once it had achieved independence or it could be One Hundred years of solitude but told with earnestness and without optimism As a student in class, we were given a cartoon strip version of animal farm, this differed in one way from the original at the end instead of simply observing how the pigs and the men became indistinguishable the animals rise up in revolt through the whole bunch out and restart the cycle with a different species promoted to the leadership of the free world..The most striking feature of the text is that Conrad gets bored with a conventional linear narrative and chops it up in different ways Events in the few few pages are revisited from a different perspective, towards the middle of the book and towards the end Conrad tells the political ending through flashback, the reader must infer some detail and make allowance for the peculiarities of the specific narrative voices in each case An effect of this is to suggest that the detail is irrelevant, the big story about the country of Bird shit coast, so I loosely render Costaguana into English, is about international interests, structures and habits of power, ultimately avarice wins and while avarice is unlikely to take your confession with a cigarette drooping out of the corner of its mouth before you are dragged out and shot, it is violent and destructive enough in its own way, trumping here with ease the nineteenth century ideal of nationalism and patriotism with the simple logic that if you have enough money oraccurately access to international credit you can buy the most modern guns and make your own country all you need do then is invent a new flag There is a vision of the silver rich mine She saw the San Tome mountain hanging over the campo, over the whole land, feared, hated, wealthysoulless than any tyrant,pitiless and autocratic than the worst government ready to crush innumerable lives in the expansion of its greatness p.431 The archbishop advises his flock to think on eternal suffering, which in the context of the history of the Bird shit coast seems unnecessary advice but he himself is infected with the same avarice in the form of desire for the restitution of the landed wealth of the church One might wonder about politic,s but from early on we are shown that the political ideals that had half starved, near naked men fight and win armed with knives tied to sticks in the service of Garibaldi for a united Italy are out manoeuvred by Cavour, the only relief is that money can wash away the incipient proto fascism of the admirers of Napoleon III too Love also seems coloured by wealth, Nostromo s relationship with his designated wife demonstrated by gifting her the silver buttons off his jacket as something of sufficient value to her Dr Monygham loves Mrs Gould, but his love is a kind of injury, felt as pain and a feeling he can only appreciate because of the experiences that have left him with PTSD The shadow of de Tocqueville s opinion that all new regimes are built out of the bricks of the preceding one hangs over the narrative, escape from patterns and socialisation into violence, coercion and extortion is not to be found here one of the few positive seeming characters is a bandit leader and later minister of war , perhaps Hobsbawn s idea of social banditry was drawnfrom this and memories of Robin Hood than fromconventional historical research.One thread in the fabric of the twentieth century has been to hold men like Charles Gould up as heroes, but for Conrad, he is an adventurer a member of a foreign legion, essentially alien and uncaringly destructive for all his claim of having been born here implies some kind of kinship with the other citizens.In short this novel is like a great bird that loosened its bowls across ideals of the nineteenth century, the vigorous splatter of which reveals the pattern of the twentieth century perhaps for all of us, since the banks must make their five percent, and to borrow their money you must meet their conditions what ever your own values.I wonder having finished what Conrad might have made of the prospects of independent Poland, on the strength of this novel, I suspect he d have felt no excess of optimism view spoiler reading notes equally the debt replacements credit worthyness of the state, silver from the mine goes to USA banker who lent the money necessary to restart the mine.Setting bird shit coast the country of Heart of darkness having achieved independence.From the beginning Cavour and Garibaldi Repression and violence Power over gangs backed up by violence as means to obtainpower minister of war failure of ideals Weakness of ideals in the face of power politics Technocracy steam ships named after gods a bit above it all.Conrad chops up the narrative and by opening the way he does effectively allows us to see the folly of the settlers for what it is cyclical narrative events in the opening pages repeated from another perspective pp160 200, the fleeing Ribera contrasted with the opening ceremony for the railway.The mine itself is violence a tear in the landscape dynamite if I can t have it no body canthe continuous political changes, the constant saving of the country , which to his wife seemed a puerile and bloodthirsty game of murder and rapine played with terrible earnestness by depraved children p73 , yet this is a game we are all obliged to playbut you weren t born here Mr Gould to Mrs GouldKleptocracy.silver tarnishes.childlessness infertilityviolence coercion as way of life men press ganged into army to fight for the mine From which they receive no benefit railway to carry silver to the docksefficiently hide spoiler Nostromo is considered by many to be Conrad s greatest novel The ambiguous nature of good and evil, the importance of duty, common themes in all of Conrad s novels, get an epic treatment in Nostromo my Modern Library edition is 630 pages long But for all of its length, the novel, after the first dense, foundation building 50 pages or so, reads quickly Published in 1904, the book has the feel of a modern novel It s a book about revolutions, money, and character, told through different voice Nostromo is considered by many to be Conrad s greatest novel The ambiguous nature of good and evil, the importance of duty, common themes in all of Conrad s novels, get an epic treatment in Nostromo my Modern Library edition is 630 pages long But for all of its length, the novel, after the first dense, foundation building 50 pages or so, reads quickly Published in 1904, the book has the feel of a modern novel It s a book about revolutions, money, and character, told through different voices, different eyes.The main character is of course Nostromo, though the reader may at first be a bit puzzled by this, since for well over half the book Nostromo, a sailor and dock foreman, exists on the periphery of the story, but always as the indispensible man If anything, the main character is, initially, the San Tome silver mine, a storehouse of wealth in the imaginary South American country of Costaguana Charles Gould is the owner of the mine He has inherited it from his father, but the mine is both a political football and silver goose due to the country s never ending revolutions So much so that Gould s uncle was executed by the previous junta Gould has no intention of ever letting that happen again, so he takes a different approach, inviting outside investors American, and others to get the mine running again, with a backup plan that involves a lot of dynamite With a new, liberal government in place, it looks like everyone is making money.Not so, as one resentful general feels he isn t getting his fair share Yet another revolution occurs, and the province of Sulaco the richest in the country falls under siege Fortunately Sulaco is protected by its geography, and what follows is a race against time, with several factions vying for control of the country and the silver The cast of characters Conrad uses to tell his story seems vast, but the individual treatment is never shallow Oh, some most of the characters are shallow, depressingly so Generals, sailors, crazy priests, revolutionaries, nihilists, bandits, women of various natures, are all revealed in their damaged glory Gould himself, not really good or evil, is a mechanical man, a total materialist, who, oddly, is married to a secular saint of sorts, Emilia There were times I wondered about this odd match, but in the end I figured Charles represented the ultimate project for Emilia The result is a sterile standoff.And then there s Nostromo, a confident guy who on surface would seem the perfect Conradian hero He gets the job done, whatever it is, always However, the problem in Nostromo s case is that it is always linked to how he feels he is viewed by others especially his employers His reputation is paramount When the social order collapses, he feels betrayed by it or them But much of this is self serving When, through an accident, fate pushes the silver into his lap, he makes the wrong choice, and that choice eats at him throughout the rest of the novel, compounding itself into multiple bad choices, with the final, fatal choice linked to love Some have complained about the late love story in the novel For me it fittingly closed the circle, and is as heartbreaking an ending as I ve read in literature It s a sad story told by a master This is a character study of Europeans remaking themselves in the New World, in this case the fictional South American country of Costaguana As in other books by this master that I ve enjoyed over the decades Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, The Secret Sharer , I enjoyed the collision of the characters sense of noble purpose and the reality of corruption and self interest that forever infests human enterprise On the plus side, we delve into the minds and struggles of a larger cast of characters This is a character study of Europeans remaking themselves in the New World, in this case the fictional South American country of Costaguana As in other books by this master that I ve enjoyed over the decades Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, The Secret Sharer , I enjoyed the collision of the characters sense of noble purpose and the reality of corruption and self interest that forever infests human enterprise On the plus side, we delve into the minds and struggles of a larger cast of characters than in Conrad sfamous works The flip side of that is a diffusion of focus and a long traverse getting to know them before significant events occur that converge their pathways and challenge them to change their ways or fall by the wayside In other words, the tale can try your patience a bit waiting for people to get unstuck in their ways.The modernist elements in the writing that impressed me for a book published in 1904 include hopping among the perspectives of several key characters, with some interludes with an omniscient narrator and some playing with linearity in the timeframe Two important characters we mainly come to know as reflected indirectly from the mindset of other characters, mine owner Charles Gould and his captain of the company s security forces, Nostromo, whom we are told was a former guerrilla fighter with Garibaldi s revolt in Italy and a merchant marine foreman after that Gould is the inheritor of a silver mining concession from his wealthy British ancestors, who wereinto the shipping business of their steamship fleet than the big challenges of mining While the Spanish for three centuries made treasures from the mine through brutal employment of slave labor and coerced labor, Gould applies his engineering training to make aefficient and humane operation Thus, the people mostly love him, and the provincial government and local businesses appreciate the boon to the economy For a long time, income from the concession keeps the line of dictators at the distant capitol relatively happy through payment on the development investment they forced on him and ongoing bribes However, the prospect of a successful revolutionary coup brings such stability to an end With the fear of rebel insurgents taking the town, the peasants react by rioting and assaults on the homes and businesses of the upper classes The hopes for the town and company in Nostromo s competence in their defense is founded on a past success by him in heroically warding off a mob attack on one of the company s boats trying evacuate company employees Conrad gives us a window on these two characters from the residents of the town Sulaco, including the viewpoints of Gould s charming wife Emilia, who is tough in her own way but sincere in her charity the cynical English doctor Monygham, whose torture by an earlier dictator leaves him wishing for a republic the mine manager Joseph Mitchell, a fussy but efficient Brit promoted from a long tour as steamship captain the progressive journalist Martin Decoud, who acquired European culture from his education in France the virtuous local aristocrat Don Jose Avellanos and his wife Antonia and Giorgio Viola, a merchant who also fought with Garibaldi and father of two daughters who come to captivate Nostromo We come to wonder how noble Gould and Nostromo really are The disparity between the luxury Gould lives in and the impoverished status of the town s majority is obvious In the case of Nostomo, some of his comments suggest a chafing in his soul from resentment of being exploited without suitable reward Is the whole enterprise of extracting riches from this land doomed to the forces of corruption and excesses inherent with all colonial endeavors All in Conrad s cast of characters are forced to decide whether they should support capitulation to the new warlords or instead gamble on desperate resistance and a chance of making an independent republic out of their province Regardless of who ends up in power, there is the thorny problem of keeping the large quantity of silver ingots not yet shipped out to buyers from being snatched by individuals from either side with their own greed in mind Conrad sold this story in serial form for a magazine To satisfy such readers, he pulls off some great surprises for the ending Along the way, his well developed characters each undergo significant development to make the necessary choices to adapt and survive the treacherous events of the tale Some rise to the occasion to make a moral stance, some get their just deserts, some get undeserved rewards, and some tragically pay with their lives I admire the book, but overall my personal pleasure meter didn t often reach high on the dial due to so many diversions among the characters I was most moved when the prose suddenly lept off the page with some eloquent description of geography or insight into reality by his characters Here is a small sample of his marvelous crafting of the English language despite growing up in Poland Don Jose Avellanos depended very much upon the devotion of his beloved Antonia He accepted it in the benighted way of men, who, though made in God s image, are like stone idols without sense before the smoke of certain burnt offerings Action is consolatory It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions Only in the conduct of our action can we find the sense of mastery over the Fates There is never any God in a country where men will not help themselves. He was ruined in every way, but a man possessed of passion is not a bankrupt in lifeJ Conrad, NostromoA splendid story of romanticism, adventure and vice Conrad employs an intricate narrative structure, intertwining four character studies and differing points of view around Sulaco, an imagined South American country, a ticking bomb with a violent past He perfectly contrasts these against the fabulous scenery of mist hidden mountains and a silver mine The novel begins in the midst ofHe was ruined in every way, but a man possessed of passion is not a bankrupt in lifeJ Conrad, NostromoA splendid story of romanticism, adventure and vice Conrad employs an intricate narrative structure, intertwining four character studies and differing points of view around Sulaco, an imagined South American country, a ticking bomb with a violent past He perfectly contrasts these against the fabulous scenery of mist hidden mountains and a silver mine The novel begins in the midst of things with frequent flashbacks and some glimpses forward, as information is gradually revealed It s filled the with spirited characters, including, of course, the magnificent Nostromo, who is a natural born leader, valiant, virtuous and very handsome, ready and able for center stage in the revolution about to destroy Sulaco A master of suspense and designer extraordinaire of complex plots, Conrad thereby transforms an otherwise typical tale of romantic adventure into a quite serious study of human nature in adversity, with themes of capitalism and imperialism and revolution Wait a minute, is this what Joseph Conrad isI thought maybe I d read The Secret Agent at the wrong time, because I felt like I should like it but I sortof didn t I tell people I liked Heart of Darkness, but there s this vague air of uneasiness that I can t quite put my finger on I ve read it three times but I don t really remember it And here I am at Nostromo, which is about a revolution And secret treasure This is exciting And here s the thing it fucking isn t. Here s Joseph Conrad s d Wait a minute, is this what Joseph Conrad isI thought maybe I d read The Secret Agent at the wrong time, because I felt like I should like it but I sortof didn t I tell people I liked Heart of Darkness, but there s this vague air of uneasiness that I can t quite put my finger on I ve read it three times but I don t really remember it And here I am at Nostromo, which is about a revolution And secret treasure This is exciting And here s the thing it fucking isn t. Here s Joseph Conrad s deep, dark truth he s boring.It sneaks up on you because he writes about exciting things A voyage into the heart of darkness to meet the mighty Colonel Kurtz A secret agent A man who goes around with explosives strapped to him and a deadman switch at all times Revolutions The plot summaries sound exciting But you get to it and there are no scenesIt s just descriptions. It s a lot of talk. It s boring. If it wereexciting, here s what it would be about This guy Nostromo is a mythically brave Capataz de Cargadores, which is another thing that soundsexciting than it is, it just means he s in charge of the guys who unload ships He s entrusted with smuggling some of this rich white guy s treasure a lighter full of silver out of town when a revolution hits It s a dangerous job Things go awry This is a lighter It s just a boat.The treasure is your classic briefcase from Pulp Fiction It s a test, right It s temptation Every man in the book is tested against the treasure Conrad s not interested in women Dr Monagham, who was tortured in his past by a different dictator, view spoiler redeems himself in his own eyes by protecting it hide spoiler Martin Decoud, an intellectual, view spoiler is totally unable to handle the test and commits suicide hide spoiler And Nostromo himself, for whom reputation means everything, and to whom complete trust has been given view spoiler He steals it hide spoiler Again, this all sounds great It sounds like a big walloping adventure tale But in practice it s just a shitload of talking and not very much doing Also there s a bit at the end with a lighthouse that feels like a totally disconnected short story that Conrad just scotch taped on.Look, when there are scenes like the riveting night time flight of the lighter they re incredibly good Dark, too I mean literally, Conrad might be the greatest writer ever of scenes that take place in darkness You end up feeling like if Conrad could get his head out of his own ass, he d be a good writer But he can t do it He can t just tell you the story he has to go explaining it to you So I m going to stop denying it it s not me, it s him Joseph Conrad is a writer of boring books Nostromo was a difficult read for me I started this book many years ago and gave up after the first 50 pages This time I plowed through, and I m glad I did There s a lot of depth to this novel, but you don t see it until about halfway in.The story takes place in a fictional South American country called Costaguana at the turn of the 20th century An Englishman named Charles Gould has inherited a ruined mining concession, and undertakes to restore it, mostly as a means of sticking a thumb in t Nostromo was a difficult read for me I started this book many years ago and gave up after the first 50 pages This time I plowed through, and I m glad I did There s a lot of depth to this novel, but you don t see it until about halfway in.The story takes place in a fictional South American country called Costaguana at the turn of the 20th century An Englishman named Charles Gould has inherited a ruined mining concession, and undertakes to restore it, mostly as a means of sticking a thumb in the eye of the corrupt Costaguana government that caused the ruin of the mine, and the ruin of Gould s father The title character, Nostromo, is an Italian sailor named Gian Battista Fidanza, who works as the cargo manager at the port of Sulaco, the city where the action takes place He is a man of nearly superhuman ability and moral courage, seen as indispensable by the European owners and managers in Sulaco Despite his great value, his financial rewards are few.The Gould mining concession is an irresistible prize for the Costaguana government A few generals stage a military coup, claiming to be democrats and men of the people, with the aim of seizing the mine s wealth Charles Gould will have none of it, and would rather destroy the mine than have it fall into the hands of the brigands who are coming to seize it.So at one level the novel addresses issues of colonialism, and in a way that I m not too happy about The locals are characterized as thieves, lazy, indigent, greasy, unkempt, venal, crude, and so on, while the Europeans are, for the most part, depicted as idealistic, selfless, beleaguered, and enlightened But, as always with Conrad, the picture is not quite so cut and dried Nostromo, and his would be adopted father Giorgio Viola, an ex captain in the army of Garibaldi, a dedicated republican in the old sense meaning in favor of liberty , see the Europeans as the exploiters that they are of course, they themselves are European, but have a moral and philosophical bias towards the downtrodden And the Europeans themselves are shown to be obsessed by their need to extract the maximum wealth from the country, while treating the local people as mere means towards that end.The real interest of the novel is in its psychological portraits of the principal characters Conrad is comfortable with complexity of character, and his characters are never paper cutouts each one of the major characters in this novel have conflicting desires, and the novel is in some ways a working out of those internal conflicts Actually there is one exception to this Captain Mitchell, the local agent for the main shipping company in Sulaco, is a completely self unaware person, who fancies himself a person of deep perception and great courage, but possessing neither He serves as a kind of quasi comic foil to the real players Nostromo, Charles Gould and his wife Emily, Martin Decoud, Giorgio Viola and his wife and daughters, and Dr Monygham.This is a novel very well worth reading Conrad stands out amongst authors of his era for the way that he embraces psychological and social ambiguity He was a modern writer in that sense, and a realist