Read Tales of Unrest by Joseph Conrad Online

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pubOne.info thank you for your continued support and wish to present you this new edition. Of the five stories in this volume, -The Lagoon, - the last in order, is the earliest in date. It is the first short story I ever wrote and marks, in a manner of speaking, the end of my first phase, the Malayan phase with its special subject and its verbal suggestions. Conceived in tpubOne.info thank you for your continued support and wish to present you this new edition. Of the five stories in this volume, -The Lagoon, - the last in order, is the earliest in date. It is the first short story I ever wrote and marks, in a manner of speaking, the end of my first phase, the Malayan phase with its special subject and its verbal suggestions. Conceived in the same mood which produced -Almayer's Folly- and -An Outcast of the Islands, - it is told in the same breath (with what was left of it, that is, after the end of -An Outcast-), seen with the same vision, rendered in the same method - if such a thing as method did exist then in my conscious relation to this new adventure of writing for print. I doubt it very much. One does one's work first and theorises about it afterwards. It is a very amusing and egotistical occupation of no use whatever to any one and just as likely as not to lead to false conclusion...

Title : Tales of Unrest
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9782819910541
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 261 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Tales of Unrest Reviews

  • Lyn
    2019-05-15 08:04

    A hidden gem of Conrad mastery.This collection of short works represent some of Conrad’s earlier work. First published in 1898, four of the five stories had been previously published. A reader will find many of Conrad’s most frequently explored themes: isolation, distinctions between East and West, between colonial and native, a discernment and critique of civilization. But these shorter works also reflect his sharp observation of human nature and his adept ability to dissect relationships."Karain: A Memory" – similar in tone to Lord Jim, this also highlights the duality of Conrad’s views on racism. A Malaysian hero is memorialized by Western friends.Set in Brittany "The Idiots" is perhaps his most dated work, possibly more anachronistically non politically correct than his use of the “N” word. Here, Conrad describes a family cursed with mental illness in the French countryside and how the inchoate difficulties unravel the parents. Subtly disturbing."An Outpost of Progress" – In the Heart of Darkness segment of his canon, this describes a trading post in the heart of the jungle. Deep up an in country river, two unlikely custodians, maintain an outpost and the tension of loneliness and of the suffocating forest gets to them both."The Return" – may be the surprise jewel of this crown. Very much dissimilar to any of his works, like Amy Foster in that regard, far afield from any of his ubiquitous themes, this one will stay with me, partly because of the high quality of his prose and also partly because it is so out of character. His virtuosity with imagery and with psychological characterization is in full force in this novella (the longest work in the collection). Conrad captures the essence of the dynamics of infidelity that would make modern writers like Stephen King and Richard Mathieson envious. Yet at the same time, if looked at from a slightly different angle “The Return” embodies and fairly represents his body of work in that he examines as with a sharp instrument the subtle and fragile superficiality of what we call civilization. In tone and design this is also reminiscent of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie."The Lagoon" – A very short work, almost a sketch of native power and influence. Reminiscent of Melville or Jack London’s south seas stories.I had heard of some of these stories before and I am glad to have found them all in one cover. This would make a good introduction for a new reader and a fan of Conrad, I am one, will want to know this work.

  • Tanuj Solanki
    2019-05-04 08:53

    The stories here are from Conrad's early period, in the last decade of 19th century. Given below are my ratings for each of them, along with the setting.Karain: a memory - 4 (Malaya)The Idiots - 4.5 (Rural France)An Outpost of Progress - 5 (Congo)The Return - 4.5 (London)The Lagoon - 3 (Malaya)Of these, An Outpost of Progress stands out, and can be read as a sort of precursor to Heart of Darkness. In the story, we see the disintegration that befalls when white men stay in an outpost in dark dark Africa.The general collapse toward some sort of hysteria / insanity remains a common theme in all the stories. And except the Congo story, the Woman remains an enigmatic locus, at once the object of desire and the agency of deception and folly. As far as the writing goes, it is top notch, if one focuses on the turn of phrases and the metaphors more than the statis that Conrad forces on his scenes. Let me give some sentences from the story 'The Return'The inner circle train from the City rushed impetuously out of a black hole and pulled up with a discordant, grinding racket in the smirched twilight of a West-End station.She strode like a grenadier, was strong and upright like an obelisk, had a beautiful face, a candid brow, pure eyes, and not a thought of her own in her head.There are in life events, contacts, glimpses, that seem brutally to bring all the past to a close. There is a shock and a crash, as of a gate flung to behind one by the perfidious hand of fate. Go and seek another paradise, fool or sage. There is a moment of dumb dismay, and the wanderings must begin again; the painful explaining away of facts, the feverish raking up of illusions, the cultivation of a fresh crop of lies in the sweat of one's brow, to sustain life, to make it supportable, to make it fair, so as to hand intact to another generation of blind wanderers the charming legend of a heartless country, of a promised land, all flowers and blessings . . .He stood in the revealing night—in the darkness that tries the hearts, in the night useless for the work of men, but in which their gaze, undazzled by the sunshine of covetous days, wanders sometimes as far as the stars.Reading Conrad is perhaps acknowledging two things - (1) The necessary abstinence from venturing into that which is impossible to know, and the necessity of making peace with that impossibility, whether that be the mores and customs of another race or the absurdity of women (Conrad's idea, not mine) (2) The old notion that a lot of work needs to go into making a descriptive sentence, and that it has to be long.All in all, depending on your attention levels in various paragraphs, your reactions will vary. You'll feel subject to sublime art in some places, and skim over many others. The essence of the stories won't be missed though - promise.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-04-28 15:53

    Like most everything I've read recently, I'm GOING to review. Just not today.

  • Wayne
    2019-05-22 14:10

    Conrad, Polish born, is recorded as having written his first letter in English aged 28 in 1885. In 1896, aged almost 40, his first novel was published. Of this, his publisher's reader, Edward Garnett, wrote: "When he read aloud to me some new MS pages of 'An Outcast of the Islands' he mispronounced so many words that I followed him with difficulty. I found then that he had never once heard these English words spoken, but had learned them all from books."This is only one of the fascinations that reading Joseph Conrad holds,his 'secondhand' mastery of the English tongue.The other great pleasure and fascination are the writings themselves.Drawn from wide and varied experiences, distilled by a sharp and sensitive intelligence, here is a writer with something to say.These 5 stories illustrate all of the above and probably much more. Two are set in Europe.'The Idiots' tells of a hideous tragedy in a propertied Breton family; the other, a rather dry, sardonic retelling of the disintegration of an upper-class London marriage.The other three settings draw on Conrad's experiences in the East and the Congo. 'An Outpost of Progress' illustrates the shallowness of civilised values amongst Europeans in supposedly savage primitive cultures. A story I reread with evergrowing pleasure and agitation.The other two set in the East illustrate the mystery and respect that the values of unknown cultures should elicit from us, the foreigner and alien.I look forward to MORE!!!

  • Matthew
    2019-04-23 15:13

    The early work of famous writers can sometimes be an interesting experience as we see them stretch themselves, attempting new subjects and approaches that they had not tried before, and which we will not see them attempt again. Hence the five stories that make up Joseph Conrad’s Tales of Unrest are full of interesting surprises for the Conrad admirer.The book opens and ends with two fairly similar stories, and I will begin with those. The first story in the book is ‘Karain: A Memory’. While the book once more returns to the same part of the world as Conrad’s first two novels, its biggest surprise lies in its portrayal of a sympathetic Malayan character, something conspicuously absent in Conrad’s other books set in this region. Indeed Karain is actually the hero of the story.Superficially the story outline could easily have been that of another work negatively portraying non-European peoples, like so many of Conrad’s. Karain is the leader of several remote villages. However, he is haunted by a superstitious fear. While he and his brother are tracking down a disgraced woman from their home who ran off with a European man, he becomes besotted with the thought of this woman who he barely knows, and who does not remember him. This causes him to kill his brother, and he is haunted by the fear of his brother’s spectre. The story ends on a strange note of bathos when the European gun-traders, whom Karain has befriended, find a way to exorcise his fears by giving him a cheap coin with Queen Victoria’s head on it, and persuading him that this is a talisman that will protect him.Conrad would usually have taken these elements to suggest the simplicity, ignorance and lack of moral restraint to be found in the Asian character, but for once he takes a different tack. Instead Karain is portrayed as a brave, wise and resourceful leader of his people, and he commands the respect of the traders he talks to.Even the final device whereby Karain is hoodwinked into a false reassurance is portrayed only half-humorously. The men are not trying to cheat Karain for mercenary motives – we are told that this is intended to be their last visit to the area anyway. Nor are the men seeking to mock Karain. Indeed, they regard him as a friend, and one of their own, and the trick is a genuine and kind attempt to help Karain. The story therefore ends with the men showing their solidarity and support for their Malayan friend and helping to return his peace of mind.In the final story, ‘The Lagoon’, a similar tale is played out. Once again we have a likeable Malayan, though admittedly we are told that he is liked a little less than a favourite dog would be. Arsat has made a similar fall from grace. With his brother, he takes away a woman that he loves from his ruler. However, whilst they are faced with an army of the ruler’s men, he pushes off in his boat and leaves his brother to his fate.The story does not have a similar important role for the European visitor, who here only listens to the story. It is a minor story, but with interesting use of darkness and light, motion and stillness. Arsat believes he can take his woman to a remote area where everything will stand still. However, he cannot prevent her from dying, and the story ends with him planning to return and fight the ruler’s men, presumably a futile gesture.In ‘The Idiots’, Conrad unusually opts for a European setting. It is set in post-revolutionary France, and concerns a family where the children are all born idiots. The history of the parents is told to us with some pathos. No attempts by the father and mother are able to reverse the curse of all their children being born with the same condition, and the story ends with the mother murdering the father before committing suicide.Conrad uses the story to make a point about the notion of god, and there are a few allusions to imply that the existence of children such as this serves to disprove the idea of a benevolent god, e.g. ‘They were an offence to the sunshine, a reproach to empty heaven…’ At one point, the revolutionary father reluctantly agrees to go to church and seek help from a priest, but this proves to be as futile as any other attempt.The story and the idea behind it are certainly interesting. It is indeed a moral question that all religious people need to ask themselves – why does god create children born with these disadvantages? The Idiots’ is a moving and uncharacteristic experiment for Conrad. It is a little bit let down by its ending however, which is somewhat overwrought and melodramatic. Conrad himself hated the story.By contrast, Conrad thought ‘An Outpost of Progress’ was one of his best works. The story suffers a little by comparison with Heart of Darkness, to which it bears a certain resemblance in location and subject matter. It lacks the wider scope and powerful writing of the more famous work. Also there are fewer surprises in ‘An Outpost of Progress’ since Kayerts and Carlier are already weak men, whereas Kurtz was a strong man of good principles. His fall is genuinely inscrutable, whereas theirs is inevitable.However, viewed on its own merits, ‘An Outpost of Progress’ is an excellent story. It tells the tale of two Europeans who are left to look after an African trading post. Their employer has little respect for them, and no faith in their ability to cope, and he proves right in this. Things first begin to go wrong when their Sierra Leone workmate Makola sells the other employees (and indeed a few locals) into slavery in exchange for ivory. Kayerts and Carlier are appalled by this, but have too few principles to put up much of a fight. Shunned by the locals and waiting for a greatly-delayed ship with more supplies from their employer, the moral character of the two men disintegrates under the pressure. Finally in an argument over a bag of sugar Kayerts kills Carlier, and then hangs himself.While Conrad’s earlier novels were glancingly anti-imperialist, ‘An Outpost of Progress’ is the first story in which Conrad makes this his main theme. He portrays the two European men with withering irony, as poor samples of civilisation and progress, mollycoddled by European civilisation, and too lazy, talentless and insipid to survive for long when put in a position that requires moral character.All these stories are united by their overseas setting. Conrad may have given up the sea forever in his working life, but in his books, he is still away from home most of the time. We catch a briefly glimpse of England when the Narcissus finally arrives there at the end of The Nigger of the Narcissus, but so far this has been all.‘The Return’ is therefore something of a surprise, in that it is actually set in Britain, and deals with a purely domestic drama. Alvan Harvey a respectably dull life with his wife (like Noah’s wife she has no name). They lack a single original thought of their own, and are entirely conventional in embracing all the morals, fashions and customs of society.However, one day Alvin returns home to find a note saying that his wife has left him for another man. In the event, she returns home instead of leaving with that man, but Alvin is devastated by the shock of discovering his wife was capable of doing this, and all his moral and social certainties begin to disintegrate. The story ends with him leaving her instead, and we are told that he never returns.While the story is rather heavy and wordy, and perhaps owes too much to other French writers, it is not without merit. Conrad lifts the lid on domestic respectability, and we see that conventional bourgeois values can soon be turned on their head. We get a glimpse of the fragmentation of the world of Alvin in the repeated image of the various mirrors in the room showing many different images of him.Perhaps the most interesting element of the story is that in some ways it shares the same theme as ‘An Outpost of Progress’, unlikely as that sounds. In the earlier story, Conrad puts the blame firmly on a European civilised society that has protected weak and useless men like Kayerts and Carlier for too long. Similarly the Harveys have lived in an enclosed and insular world of hypocritical respectability that leaves them ill-prepared for dealing with an unprecedented crisis. Indeed, we never really learn why Alvin’s wife nearly leaves him. Alvin is incapable of communicating with her, and merely spouts pompous platitudes of which she is clearly contemptuous. It somehow seems almost like her action is a rebellion against the gilded prison in which they have been living, and in a way perhaps his own departure is something similar.Conrad’s stories are notable for setting up problems, and seeing how the characters come out of them. Sometimes, as with the crew of the Narcissus, this is done almost in spite of their foolishness. Sometimes, as in Karain, it is achieved successfully through co-operation and kindness. Often however, it ends in failure for all concerned, as in ‘An Outpost of Progress’, ‘The Idiots’, ‘The Return’, and Conrad’s first two novels.We may well ask what are the qualities that help to keep people together, and which prevent them from cracking up. Firstly, solidarity and working together will help. Hence Karain can be saved because of an act of comradeship. Secondly, a commitment to selfless hard work is a saving grace. Kayerts and Carlier are doomed because they are lazy and lack the fibre to work hard. In Heart of Darkness and The Nigger of the Narcissus, relentless hard work helps to keep people from cracking up.Thirdly, an ability to resign oneself to fate is important, and this is the quality that might have saved the family in ‘The Idiots. Finally, the ability to be tough and resilient and self-sufficient, not dependent on society to support one – this will also give people a stronger ability to cope. The absence of this quality is what dooms Kayerts and Carlier, and also signals the end of the marriage of the Harveys.While the five stories here are not the best that Conrad has ever written, they are well-written and present many intriguing ideas. They are interesting experiments that show a writer testing out new areas, and they will be a valuable addition to the collection of anyone who admires Joseph Conrad.

  • Faye
    2019-05-03 09:05

    I love Joseph Conrad so much I actually wrote in the margins of this book whenever I came across a passage that blew my mind. And as someone who normally cringes at the thought of defacing a book by writing in margins, it's the highest compliment I can pay.

  • Brax
    2019-05-19 14:10

    Tales of Unrest is a collection of Joseph Conrad’s first five short stories, including “An Outpost of Progress,” which is closely linked by setting and theme to Heart of Darkness. In fact, all of the stories in this collection share the existential probing that is so compelling in Conrad’s famous novella. Though the settings vary from story to story (the Congo, upper-class London, rural France and two in Malaysia), in each tale the writer explores how men commit immoral acts, justify their actions and then are haunted by their crimes for the rest of their lives. In “Karain: A Memory,” Conrad paints a beautifully rendered portrait of a stunning and powerful war-chief of “three villages on a narrow plain; the master of an insignificant foothold on the earth.” (14) On the ship’s last trip to the island, the narrator learns that Karain’s advisor, an old man who never left his side, has died. The usually garrulous Karain is absent during their visit until one night he swims by himself out to the ship, boarding the vessel crazed and fearful for his life. He tells the story of a white man who came to his country and steals the heart of his best friend’s sister, the most beautiful girl in the village, and then takes her away. The two friends search for many years for the red-headed man and the sister, an “obscure Odyssey of revenge” (43), but along the way, Karain falls in love with visions he has of the sister. When they finally find the pair, the friend moves closer to kill both his sister and the man who took her, to bring honor back to his family. Before he can do it, Karain shoots his friend, and he is haunted by this deed until he meets the old man. “People here called him my sorcerer, my servant and sword-bearer; but to me he was father, mother, protection, refuge and peace” (44). After the old man dies, the ghost of his friend begins to haunt him again, and he has come to the English ship in search of a talisman that might ward of the spirit. The subject matter of “The Idiots” reminded me of Cormac McCarthy’s early work, though different in style and setting. In Conrad’s story, a couple in rural France take over the family farm and begin having children, but each child they have is severely mentally retarded. In the parlance of Conrad’s day, they were “idiots.” The husband and wife each suffer in their own way, and in the end the wife commits an atrocious act that drives her mad and leads to her end. “An Outpost of Progress” tells of two lazy and incompetent Belgian agents manning an outpost on the Congo River in the late 19th century. Kayerts and Carlier are left alone for six months to continue trading ivory with the locals and storing it for the next time the company boat comes upriver. The native Makola, who acts as their bookkeeper and negotiates the trading of ivory, hates the two men, and one night he tricks the bumbling agents into staying in their cabins as he trades members of the local tribe into slavery for an enormous amount of ivory. When Kayerts and Calier realize what has happened the next day, they are horrified, but eventually come to rationalize the trade because the profits from the ivory will be substantial, and they will look good in the eyes of their boss. When the steamboat is diverted and the men must stay on month after month, and now with no local tribe to trade with and to get food from, they begin to deteriorate physically, emotionally and morally. Eventually an argument over whether or not to use their rationed sugar leads to the accidental killing of Carlier, and in shame Kayerts hangs himself just as the steamboat comes to relieve them of their solitude. “The Return” is the oddball of the collection in some ways, and personally I found it unenjoyable. Conrad seems to have hated the story himself, calling it a “left-handed production” (11) in the Author’s Note, and then stops himself, writing, “I don’t want to talk disrespectfully of any pages of mine” (11). Set in the London apartment of upper class socialites, the story deals with a man’s discovery of a note from his wife saying that she has left him for another man. Not long after he has ripped the note to shreds and started considering the consequences that this betrayal has for his life and his social standing, his wife returns. She has changed her mind and was hoping to retrieve the letter before he found it. The 60-page story is mostly a recounting of the couple’s arguments and confessions. Surrounded by four exotic and gothic tales about remorse and revenge, “The Return” falls flat, though there are many brilliant Conradian lines, and the ending felt like the author just got to the point where he had exhausted every morsel from the idea and just had to abruptly end it. In his Author’s Note, Conrad says that “The Lagoon” was the first short story he ever wrote, which would make almost any writer envious. Not a bad start to a literary career! The story concerns a man named Arsat who lives in a lagoon in Malaysia with his wife, who is now sick and near death. When his white friend visits him on a trip upriver, the man tells the story of how he and his wife came to live in the lagoon. He had fallen in love with a woman who was a servant of their Ruler. One night, Arsat and his brother stole the girl away, and their canoe was pursued by the Ruler’s men. When the men caught up with the brothers and the girl, the brother created a diversion while Arsat and his true love crossed a small island to get to another boat. Instead of waiting for his brother the man paddled away with his bride, leaving his brother to die at the hands of the men chasing them. After his wife dies Arsat vows to go back and seek revenge for his brother’s death. Conrad’s use of language is extraordinary, especially considering it was his third language, after Polish and French. Every word rings with meaning and every sentence is nearly perfect. With the exception of “The Return,” the stories were executed beautifully and structured with the precision of a craftsman. The way Conrad injects social agendas and existential dilemmas into the stories, without being preachy or condescending, is inspiring. I like the idea of literature with a moral purpose, and Conrad’s gorgeous prose mines for an understanding of humanity.

  • Bill Wallace
    2019-05-20 16:05

    Early short stories by one of the great stylists of literature. Rediscovering Conrad has been a profound pleasure and these stories make a great reintroduction. Several of them are set in a colonial world where Europeans often behave abominably and are undone by their own natures. One of them is also a ghost story. The one story set in an English home, "The Return," is a masterpiece of agonizing introspection by a man who seems to have no real capacity for the act . . . told in a way that prefigures stream of consciousness while also reveling in sensory detail. I'm looking forward to further renewing my acquaintanceship with this most excellent author.

  • Tom Leland
    2019-05-15 10:04

    Worth reading for "The Return" alone: every feeling and thought experienced by a selfish snob of a man when his wife walks out on him, and again when she returns, described with astonishing insight and clarity.

  • Leeeo-
    2019-05-22 14:04

    Cinque racconti: - Un Avamposto del Progresso - Gli Idioti - Il ritorno - Karain: un Ricordo - La Laguna I primi tre tra questi sono sconvolgenti: Conrad, a parer mio, riesce a dare il meglio di sé nei racconti brevi, e qui ne abbiamo delle splendide dimostrazioni.

  • Duarte
    2019-05-15 16:10

    Karain - 5*Os Idiotas - 3*O regresso - 5*Laguna - 4*

  • Kim Zinkowski
    2019-05-12 08:07

    A.

  • George Blum
    2019-04-25 09:54

    A masterpiece. Beautiful writing.

  • Raúl San Martín Rodríguez
    2019-04-23 08:06

    Fantástico uso del lenguaje en cada uno de los relatos. La única crítica que tengo es que durante algunos pasajes, la prosa se va construyendo de una manera que podríamos definir como muy reiterativa y en exceso descriptiva. Supongo que ha sido el fin deseado por el autor para así destacar determinada situación dentro del relato, mediante el uso excesivo de los mismos conceptos pero con diferentes palabras, creando de esta forma una atmósfera que consideré agobiante. No obstante, cada una de sus historias presentan rasgos importantes de la denominada "angustia psicológica" del personaje, característica que marcará todo un género literario durante el siglo XX. Recomendable para quienes gusten del género y deseen visitar tierras lejanas y misteriosas.

  • Gale
    2019-05-17 16:01

    PROBING THE MURKY WATERS OF THE SOULThis 216-page anthology provides an excellent introduction for new readers to Polish-born Joseph Conrad, who deftly paints on an English canvass. Having selected five of his tales the editors present readers with settings in both the exotic tropics of Malaysia and Africa, as well as the chilly social milieus of socialite London and pastoral France. Perhaps the editors chose the word UNREST for their title because all the protagonists experience psychological malaise from a diversity of causes.KARAIN. This Malay chieftain feels cursed by his past, so he desperately seeks a new English charm to ward off his fatal stalker.THE IDIOTS. A simple French peasant couple are cursed by bearing children who are severely mentally retarded.OUTPOST OF PROGRESS. The title is sheer irony, since a useless African trading station is run by two ineffectual English agents. The men are pursued by their failed pasts, general laziness, incompetence, the extreme heat of the trpics, and by Company indifference.THE RETURN. A young socialite husband returns home to discover a note from his wife, explaining that she has left him for another man. In this most psychological of the tales the wronged husband undergoes a series of intense emotions and decisions--ultimately defying the very Society he represents.THE LAGOON. A native is pre-grieving the death of his beloved wife, unburdening his soul before his only white friend. Although this represents Conrad's first published short story, curiously it concludes this particular anthology. Let it serve as an invitationto explore the murky waters of the human soul.(September 11, 2012)

  • Daniel Inácio
    2019-04-27 16:14

    The five stories written in this book are somehow related to disquiet and unrest, as the state of mind of some of its characters approaches madness.I liked very much two of them, The Idiots and The Return. Although in all of them the writing is beautiful, I felt only in these ones was Conrad able to keep the intensity of the story with the long descriptions which punctuate them with brilliant results. Personally I couldn't stop reading them, with The Return reminding me of a Bergman's movie, due to its plot and the way the woman was treated as a very complex character, whose intentions are not well understood, a whole world of emotions and feelings hidden inside her. Still, I must praise the whole specter of characters and environments present in these stories, from London to Malaya passing through France and Congo, in all of which I felt the autor captured its true essence; I felt transported to all of its locations, and believed in each of its characters.

  • Francis Bruynseels
    2019-05-14 11:12

    The pearl in the collection is "An Outpost of Progress" a simply brilliant story told with enormous economy. The title is obviously ironic but it is hard to know which lines are intended to be comic. The insults like "pot bellied ass" are funny but were they intended rather to be dramatic? Conrad adopts a godlike superiority toward his characters. I am fairly sure the final line of the story is intended to be amusing but I didn't find it so.Conrad's style of writing is fantastic despite the gallicisms and strange turns of phrase. It seems that inside him was something that absolutely had to express itself in stories in English.I think many people, including me, will find "The Return" a long slog for little reward.

  • Louise
    2019-04-28 09:00

    Beautiful writing! I must confess high school probably ruined Heart of Darkness for me, but I really enjoyed this one :-)The Return did drag on a bit (talk about having a strong reaction!!) - the themes etc were interesting enough, BUT the endless(!) inner drama of Alvan irritated me so much that what could have been a 5 star rating was only 4½ :-)

  • Lucy
    2019-05-04 15:11

    I thought it might be tricky to give stars to a volume of short stories. Not so, every one of these is 5 star. Conrad at his very best with his pitiless yet pitiful delineation of the human condition. And if I could give 10 stars for The Return, I would. His focus on the bedroom mirrors is one of the most unsettling images I have ever read. Conrad, the most underrated writer ever.

  • Kate
    2019-04-30 11:18

    More like "Tales of Sleeplessness." I haven't read Conrad since college and had forgotten how deeply unsettling his stories can be -- and also how absolutely magnificent his sentences are, especially considering that English was not his first language. The recurrence of the doppleganger theme is intriguing.....I would like to find a good biography of this fascinating man.

  • Nuno Martins
    2019-05-20 15:16

    Livro com cinco contos do início literário de Conrad, onde já se aperce a profundidade e as linhas gerais da sua escrita que mais tarde irá dar livros geniais como o "Coração da Trevas" ou "Nostromo".

  • Anne
    2019-05-07 15:08

    What a great storyteller. His fixation on the ills of "modern man" at the turn of the last century. is captivating. Just what you'd expect in short stories from Joseph "The Heart of Darkness" Conrad.

  • Charles C VanCott
    2019-04-27 09:19

    Five Terrific TakesI enjoyed all five stories, liking The Idiots, An Outpost of Progress and The Lagoon the best. I would have given five stars, but these words do not hit the same level as Heart of darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo or The Secret Agent.

  • Ferran d'Armengol
    2019-04-27 15:11

    Divers. Hi ha relats massa llargs per tot el què hi diu. I altre relats fsacinants, potser millor si més curts.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-15 15:14

    I liked most of the stories, but 'The Return' was pretty painful and of course it was the longest!

  • Andy Vale
    2019-05-11 09:08

    Moving, often unpredictable, and so richly written. Conrad is a master.

  • Patrick Neylan
    2019-04-30 16:11

    Very early collection of short stories