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Victory by Joseph Conrad

Victory (1915)

by Joseph Conrad

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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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 |

As far as Conrad novels go, this was... well, pretty standard. The big difference is that it's not narrated by 'Marlowe,' so the prose is a little more readable. It's pretty pessimistic, of course. If you're into memorable characters, Lena/Alma's right up there. And I suppose Heyst is meant to be up there, but it's just difficult for me to take seriously a character with such a prominent mustache. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
The love story is tender and delightful and the suspense at the end when the robbers have invaded the island really keep the reader involved. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Jan 16, 2012 |
Warto przeczytac w nawiazaniu do "Madame" Antoniego Libery ( )
  beata | Oct 23, 2010 |
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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
First words
There is, as every schoolboy knows in this scientific age, a very close chemical relation between coal and diamonds.
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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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