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Victory by Joseph Conrad

Victory (1915)

by Joseph Conrad

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I didn't know anything about this book when I started it other than 2 facts: it was written by the author of The Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, and it was on the Guardian's list of 1000 novels everyone should read.

After I started, I quickly found myself engaged in this somewhat odd story about a very odd man, Heyst. A little farther into the story, I went back to find in which category the Guardian's list had placed this book & was surprised to find it was in the "Love" category rather than the "War and Travel" category I had expected. By the end of the book, I understood the placement! If I had to describe it in one sentence, it would be as a cross between his earlier book Heart of Darkness and Romeo and Juliet. Heyst and Lena are surely just as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet and their end is just as tragic. ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 27, 2016 |
Fantaisie, étrange et un peu morbide, apour improbable et haine. ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 1, 2016 |
Victory (sometimes published as Victory: An Island Tale) is a psychological novel by Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924), first published in 1915. Through its publication, Conrad achieved popular success. The novel is seen as a highly complex allegorical work, with a narrative structure and psychological development laying the basis for the modern novel. Victory is initially somewhat difficult to follow because of the shifting narrative and temporal perspective. Part 1 of the book is written from the viewpoint of a sailor, Part 2 an omniscient perspective ofthe main character, Part 3 from an interior perspective of the main character, and Part 4 from the perspective of an omniscient narrator. The novel is very rich in literary allusions, and an annotated edition, such as by the Oxford University Press is recommended.

Like many of Conrad's novels, Victory is set in the Indonesian archipelago, then the Dutch Indies. The story is fairly straight forward, although the narrative develops slowly. Axel Heyst, a Swede, resides on the virtually uninhabited island where a business venture failed. During a holiday trip visiting another island, he meets and unhappy young English woman, who is attached to a music band. They steal away together. This angers and frustrates the owner of the hotel, Mr Schomberg, whose wife is a hovering presence in the background. Out of spite, Schomberg puts three desperados, Mr Jones, Ricardo and their servant on Heyst's trail, suggesting that Heyst guards a hoard of money. The three men, ruthless, sail to the island, but Mr Jones idea of finding Heyst alone, and an easy prey, runs completely awry. On the island, Jones meets his nemesis.

The novel is beautifully written, and each character fits perfectly into the plot. The psychology of each character is very convincing, despite a slight sense og exaggeration. The plot and the outcome of the story are very compelling. Various elements and characters of the story suggest a strong relation between the book and Shakespeare's play The Tempest. ( )
  edwinbcn | Feb 20, 2016 |
In the first part we get an outsider's view of Axel Heyst's character, actions and motives without being certain who he is or what actually drives him. I found this off-putting until the second part shared Heyst's perspective and we discover he's oblivious to being the centre of so much attention. In retrospect the first seems a case study foreshadowing what will come: Axel finds happiness through distance, but succumbs to connecting with the world through bouts of empathy that reward in the short term but later steer towards disaster. When real danger threatens it remains to be seen what else can stir him to action and whether he will prove to be 'wild' or 'tame'. What happens when the perpetual observer's hand is forced to commit action?

The joys of this novel come through in the dialogue, the divulging of character through confession and interplay. Being able to relate personally to Heyst's philosophy didn't hurt my enjoyment any, thrusting me into contemplating how I would react to similar pressures. Heyst lacks self-awareness, not realizing the advantage that he has in his opponents being unable to get a read on him. The disarray this lends to their plans is almost comical as they struggle to answer his supposed moves. The ending was a fitting answer to that comedy, tying everything together.

Authors of this period were learning to face the difficult challenge of retaining literary value while appealing to a broader audience and achieving greater sales. I found this to be a wonderful addressing of both objectives, very suspenseful and yet extremely engaging in its character portrayals. ( )
  Cecrow | May 28, 2014 |
Available as a free audiobook from https://librivox.org/ ( )
  captbirdseye | Mar 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Conradprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giachino, EnzoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardTypographysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
And airy tongues that syllable men's names
On sands and shores and desert wildernesses.

Milton, 'Comus'
To Percival and Maisie Gibbon
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There is, as every schoolboy knows in this scientific age, a very close chemical relation between coal and diamonds.
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This title is in public domain in the USA and the e-book is available free online.  

GUTENBERG.org is the origin for most of the human and well-edited FREE kindle editions online in various languages. Scam sites will ask for money for the hard work and titles which Gutenberg volunteers provide free. ARCHIVE.org provides a huge selection of FREE e-pub & PDF public domain titles in various languages also. (easily readable with the Free CALIBRE-ebook.com app]. Project Gutenberg is a great organization. They will never ask you for money before allowing you to download their books (though voluntary donations are welcome).   

Only SCAM SITES & CON ARTISTS will ask for money for the hard work and e-book titles which the Gutenberg volunteers provide free. Their latest bs? "You're paying for the ability to wi-fi your download." Really? So these con artists who steal Gutenberg's hard work then re-post what should be FREE e-books for sale .... rationalize it because they provide wi-fi downloads? Now that is a load of nonsense. Do you think these scammers are donating all the money back to the non-profit Gutenberg? I don't think so. Please don't patronize e-thieves or con artists. And don't let them gull you. How hard is it to plug your e-reader into your computer and do a manual download? Pretty damn easy. If you don't know how to do this, ask one of your grandkids to show you how.   

There are lots of free pre-1923 public domain kindle books on Amazon.com. [Type in 'free' and 'public domain' in the search bar.] Some current authors make their copyrighted e-books available free on Amazon and other sites also. [I would assume as a form of advertising and/or as a loss leader for a book series. Make sure to review their books as a thank you.]   

ManyBooks.net offers Gutenberg's books in a different formatting. If the book you downloaded from them doesn't work for you, maybe you can get a different copy of the same book there.   

FeedBooks.com/publicdomain offers Gutenberg's books in a different formatting. It also offers ebooks for sale. If the book you downloaded from Gutenberg doesn't work for you, maybe you can get a different copy of the same book there.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140189785, Paperback)

Axel Heyst, a dreamer and a restless drifter, believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others. Then he becomes involved in the operation of a coal company on a remote island in the Malay Archipelago, and when it fails he turns his back on humanity once more. But his life alters when he rescues a young English girl, Lena, from Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra and the evil innkeeper Schomberg, taking her to his island retreat. The affair between Heyst and Lena begins with her release, but the relationship shifts as Lena struggles to save Heyst from the detachment and isolation that have inhibited and influenced his life.

Marked by a violent and tragic conclusion, Victory is both a tale of rescue and adventure and a perceptive study of a complex relationship and of the power of love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:31 -0400)

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"Set in the islands of the Malay Archipelago, Victory tells the story of a disillusioned Swede, Axel Heyst, who rescues Lena, a young English musician, from the clutches of a brutish German hotel owner. Seeking refuge at Heyst's remote island retreat on Samburan, the couple is soon besieged by three villains dispatched by the enraged hotelier. The arrival on the island paradise of this trio of friends sets off a terrifying series of events that ultimately ends in catastrophe."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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