A Lord he was, indeed, with capital L. I’m no great fan of sailors, and never boarded a ship in my life. Yet Conrad managed to get me involved in his amazing story full of crazy characters. You can’t help thinking Conrad had met most of his book heroes in the early years of his life, when he worked on board various ships. Either he had met them, or you have an honor to read a book from a creative genius, hardly matched in British literature….
Racism, colonialism, and other messages
Conrad doesn’t moralize in his book. He neither tells us what he thinks about the colonization of the Archipelago, nor elaborate on the relations of sailors belonging to various nationalities, on the racism, idealism, and all kind of other stuff a smart reader finds in his book while reading in between the lines. Instead of making direct statement and conclusions, Joseph hides the important messages in funny dialogues of his protagonists. Dialogues that seems funny on the first read, but are actually dead serious. The book will make you think, though whether it was Conrad intention remains a mystery to me.
Idealistic heroes and geography
The vast majority of characters represent broken sailors, tough men of the seas. But there are some characters, such as Jim himself, the old botanist Stein, or Marlow (the narrator) who perhaps present the values Conrad treasured the most in his heart. The book also includes a lot of names of cities and islands, and you’ll find out something about places where you’d likely never go (like the islands of guano) :).
Unique style and vocabulary
Conrad was born to a Polish mother, and raised in Ukraine. His writing style and vocabulary he uses underlines his genius, since you would have never said Conrad wasn’t a native speaker. The variety of expressions and syntax is just mind-blowing, and won’t let you drop the book unless you go to sleep or make love.
While you may not understand all what Joseph says, it doesn’t take the joy from reading his great book, or at least it didn’t take my joy from me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who can distinguish a unique work of art from the ordinary stuff. Conrad didn’t take inspiration for his writing, and you won’t find his work matching any of his predecessors in either British or Polish literature. His work is unique, well-structured, provocative, and greatly enjoyable. So, whether you are young or damn old (like me), whether you have big nose or big legs, you should go for his book. It may not motivate you to take a sail, or arouse you, or do anything else. For a pure pleasure from reading, however, you can hardly take a better book in your hands. Enjoy it and let me know! Oh, and if you wanted to get the book, feel free doing so here on Amazon (affiliate link, you’ll support this blog by clicking it and possibly purchasing).