A Tale of the Seaboard

Book - 1992
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Joseph Conrad's foresight and his ability to distill human adventure from complex historical circumstances were so keen that his greatest novel, Nostromo --though more than a century old--says as much about Latin America as any recent account of that region's turbulent political life.

Conrad's story is set in the fictional Costaguana, a South American republic with a troubled history of tyranny and revolution. When wealthy businessman Charles Gould decides to use his valuable silver mine to support the current dictator in hopes of achieving stability, he instead sets off a new round of chaos and warfare. Fearful that his silver will fall into the hands of invading revolutionaries, Gould entrusts Nostromo--a man of the people considered by all to be incorruptible--with the task of escaping with and hiding a boatload of ingots from the mine. Nostromo's heroic actions save his city from revolution, but the fate of the silver becomes his dark secret, one that will destroy him.

Insistently dramatic in its storytelling, spectacular in its re-creation of the subtropical landscape, this picture of an insurrectionary society and the opportunities it provides for moral corruption gleams on every page with its author's impeccable intelligence.
(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed).
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, [1992]
ISBN: 9780679409908
Characteristics: xlii, 532 p. ; 21 cm.


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Jan 15, 2019

"A man haunted by a fixed idea is insane."
Conrad's most read book will probably always be "Heart of Darkness," but many consider 1904's "Nostromo" his finest achievement. It's on the Modern Library's best novels of the 20th century, and no less than F. Scott Fitzgerald said "I'd rather have written 'Nostromo' than any other novel." Set in a fictional South American country, it centers around a silver mine, and is among Conrad's most political novels, although I'm not sure if Conrad actually set foot in South America. Like much of his work, it's a bit overwritten (After all, English was his third language.) and ponderous, but his style is all his own and the themes remain resonant. The ship in "Alien" takes its name from the title.

Oberösterreich99 Jan 15, 2018

Whereas Hesse describes a setting with great detail concisely, Conrad will do so ad nauseam.

Aug 29, 2014

i found this inexplicably long, boring, and hard to follow. what happened? did anything happen?

Jane60201 Oct 09, 2013

I read this as a class assignment. It is difficult reading but actually was pretty interesting. I liked the way Conrad was able to describe his imaginary country so vividly.


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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Dictatorship and revolutionary violence, occur in the fictional province of Sulaco.


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