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Nostromo (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – November 2, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0199555918 ISBN-10: 0199555915 Edition: Revised

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I'd rather have written Conrad's Nostromo than any other novel. --F. Scott Fitzgerald --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

About the Author

Mara Kalnins is the General Editor of the Conrad editions in OWC,and the editor of Victory in the series.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised edition (November 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199555915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199555918
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It has a cast of powerful and believable characters.
Giordano Bruno
He knows just what to convey about everything from landscape to speech and goes to great pains to establish a suitable background: historical, social, political, etc.
Bill R. Moore
Nor are they really as they believe themselves to be.
Frank A. Chadwick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Joseph Conrad's most famous work is of course "Heart of Darkness," but fans and scholars generally consider Nostromo his masterpiece. One can certainly make a great case for it, as it expands many of the better-known short works strengths to novelistic scale. Like them, it is on the most obvious level an epic adventure and can be enjoyed for this alone. However, again like them and far more importantly, it is deeply symbolic, and its grand display of Conrad's bleakly tragic vision has much to say about human nature, existence, and a range of other topics. That said, it would be selling Conrad's genius rather short to simply say the book adapts his short work to a larger scale. It in fact shows his remarkable diversity, largely forsaking the sea-centered stories that dominated his early work for an intricately detailed and realistically presented fictional world. The novel also furthers Conrad's ongoing technical innovations, making it an important and influential example of very early Modernism. Finally, as always with Conrad, the prose is mesmerizing. This is quite simply Conrad's grandest and very possibly his greatest creation - one of the twentieth century's best novels and essential for anyone who likes his other work.

The adventure aspect is certainly obvious, and greater length lets Conrad work in even more than usual. There is plenty to grab even casual readers' interest: revolutions with numerous battles, political crises, several love stories, family drama, business conflicts, suicide, intercontinental capitalistic and political scheming - even buried treasure. The complex, sweeping story has numerous exciting subplots that eventually come together in a stunning conclusion, making the book seem longer than it is in the best possible way.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on October 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Nostromo is one of Joseph Conrad's longer novels, and one in which he doesn't make use of his typical "undependable narrator." Instead, the tale is told by an omniscient narrator. That is, I think, a source of weakness. The narrator wants to tell too much, wants to analyze too much, describes too much. In other words, the book is too long and too diffuse. It has too many themes: notions of human behavior and motivation, insights into the nature of political brutality and corruption, counter-insights into the virtues of simple working people and their loyalties, a flaming love story, a burned-out love story, and a tale of the temptation and 'fall' of the everyman Nostromo. Conrad expounds the ideals of the "blancos" - the upper-class globalizing developers - who are the central characters of the novel with complete sympathy, and yet he also tosses in the rhetoric of the rebels, called 'liberals' although in normal economic terms the blancos are the liberals. The n-word is thrown at these peasants and poor folk rather freely, but underneath Conrad's commitment to the interests of his 'blanco' hero, one can detect a strong taint of revolutionary sympathy for the underdogs. I wish it were clear that Conrad was deliberately undercutting the 'victory' of the progressive classes by revealing the injustices and exploitations they commit to the working classes, but it's not so clear. One has to suspect Conrad of wanting to have it both ways, to "have his cake and eat it too."

Nonetheless, I can't imagine NOT enjoying such a vivid, picturesque, risk-taking novel. It's full of lusty humor and sardonic wit. It has glorious descriptions of the tropical sights and sounds of the imaginary Latin American country where the story happens. It has a cast of powerful and believable characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Avid reader on October 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Conrad biographer Jocelyn Baines wrote of "Nostromo" that it is "worthy of comparison with the most ambitious of all great novels, "War and Peace." Well, this ain't necessarily so. I found the novel somewhat disappointing. The major theme is a central one for Conrad: The clash of Western rationality, in the form of colonial commercial interests, with the uncontrollable forces of backward, irrational and brutal cultures. And while the Belgian bunglers in the Congo made a sad mess of it ("Heart of Darkness"), here the rectitude and single-minded devotion of a very English Mr. Gould and his silver mine are supposed to stabilize and enhance the life of the citizens of one of the banana republics of mid 19th century South America. After various political and military maneuvers (which take up the bulk of the work and show a rich assortment of characters) this venture does succeed, but at what human cost to the work-obsessed Gould, his lonely wife and their immediate associates! In any case, even that success is relative as clouds of new unrest appear on the horizon. (The foolish masses just cannot be satisfied with a good thing!) --The longshoreman Nostromo and his ill-begotten silver play a secondary role for most of the novel but provide Conrad with enough stuff for some page-turning adventures and some rather overwrought romantic scenes. -- The conclusion seems to be that the creation and management of wealth in emerging societies is a constant struggle between the self-sacrificing visionaries of Western education and the native masses and their irresponsible demagogues. (After all Conrad wrote this novel in an era in which Kipling spoke of "The White Man's Burden"!Read more ›
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