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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Shadow Line (1915) by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad, author.

Book Review
The Shadow Line (1915)
by Joseph Conrad

  Total fan of Joseph Conrad.  He's a repeat player in the 1001 Book project,  You've got the immortal Heart of Darkness (1899), Lord Jim (1899), Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907.)  There's also Victory (1915) which didn't make the 1001 Books list but is worth a spin regardless. The Shadow Line is late Conrad. Despite the fact I actually enjoy reading Conrad, the reviews haven't done well in terms of page views:  35, 79, 42, 38.

  So yeah... no hits for Jo Conrad.  The Shadow Line like Victory and Heart of Darkness is a novella more than a novel. Despite his reputation as a literary author today, many of his books were published in serial.  I haven't done the research, but I suspect that during his lifetime Conrad was often characterized as a writer of "adventures."  His favored settings in the tropics of the East Indies and other then exotic locales like Africa (Heart of Darkness) and Central America (Nostromo) reflect his life experience as a sailor, but the locales often serve to emphasize the social isolation of his characters.

  In many ways The Shadow Line, about an ill-fated voyage that ends with the death or near death of every man on board do an unnamed tropical fever, can stand in for all of his books.  His characters are lonely people, struggling against a cold, uncaring world. His world is the modern world in miniature and it is a dark place.

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