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Nostromo (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

Joseph Conrad
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 31, 2002 0486424529 978-0486424521
Joseph Conrad's 1904 adventure novel, set amid the mist-covered mountains of a fictional South American republic, spins a colorful tale of capitalist exploitation and rebellion. The story begins halfway through the revolution, employing flashbacks and glimpses of the future to depict the lure of silver and its effects on men — corrupting and destroying some, revealing the strengths of others. Conrad's deep moral consciousness and masterful narrative technique are at their best in Nostromo, one of his greatest works.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This involved, philosophical novel is not for the casual listener, especially one who is supposed to be concentrating on the road ahead. Writing in 1904, Conrad invented a complex South American country with a turbulent history and a potentially explosive population, ranging from the wealthy gringo running the Sulaco silver mine to the poorest worker loading cargo on the docks. Although the story teems with lively characters, the dazzling figure of Nostromo eclipses them all. A natural leader?brave, handsome, and incorruptible?he naturally becomes the epicenter of the revolution that soon devastates Sulaco. With characteristic eloquence, Conrad has focused on the dramatic action of the revolution to explore challenging themes: capitalism, imperialism, revolution, and social justice. Unfortunately, this audio program, read by Frederick Davidson, is disappointing. Despite fine dramatic characterizations, the narrator's posh British accent is so pronounced that it often detracts from the text. Since Nostromo has also been narrated by Frank Muller (Recorded Books) and Wolfram Kandinsky (Books on TapeR), perhaps this version may not be the best choice.?Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Ruth Nadelhaft's new edition of Nostromo is a timely addition to the Broadview Editions series. Without neglecting the traditional critical and biographical approaches, the supplementary materials and lucid introduction place Conrad's difficult masterpiece fully and clearly within its contemporary contexts (especially the events surrounding the Panama Canal project), and in relation to our own debates about imperialism, colonials, and alleged racism in Conrad's work. Broadview's Nostromo, like its companion volumes, is truly a text for the way we teach now." (David Latane Jr.)

"Nadelhaft negotiates the impasse between existential and political responses to the book. In reaffirming that the personal is the political, she demonstrates how Nostromo represents the process whereby 'imperialism transmits the virus of alienation.' Joined with the historical apparatus so characteristic of Broadview Editions, such theorizing genuinely reopens a book that hasn't yet received its due." (Michael Coyle) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486424529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486424521
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Often regarded as Conrad's masterwork, Nostromo is also Conrad's darkest novel, filled with betrayals at all levels and offering little hope for man's redemption. A novel of huge scope and political intrigue, it is also a novel in which no character actually wins. All must accept the ironies which fate has dealt them. Setting the novel in the imaginary South American country of Costaguana, the story centers around a silver mine in the mountains outside of the capital, Sulaco, vividly depicting its allure and the price each character pays for its success.
When Charles Gould, returns from England to claim and reopen the rich silver mine he has inherited from his father, he has good intentions-- to provide jobs for the peasants and contribute to the economy of the town at the same time that he also profits. Soon, however, he becomes obsessed with wealth and power, and as the political climate gets hotter, he must pay off government officials, bandits, the church, and various armed revolutionaries to be able to work. Each of these groups is vividly depicted as working for its own ends and not for the good of the people, and with their goals focused on the real world, these characters have no self-awareness, nor do they develop it during the novel.
In contrast to these "unrealized" humans, Conrad presents several characters who develop some self-awareness through their experiences. Nostromo, a local legend, is a man of principle who has always kept his word. Martin Decoud, a newspaper man, is a nihilist who has editorialized against the revolution, though he has yet to test himself. Dr. Monygham, captured during a past revolution, broke under torture, and is now seeking absolution by fighting against this revolution.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterwork from a master writer May 23, 2000
Format:Paperback
Conrad is my favorite 20th century author, so I am biased. The reviewer who compared him to Tolstoy was on the money. Both lived lives that gave them fodder for their fiction; Tolstoy as a soldier in the Crimean war, an aristocrat facing the turbulence of the political and social upheavals of fin-de-siecle Russia, and Conrad as a mariner and a Polish transplant who carved out a language and a career for himself in England. Nostromo contains some of the most vividly realized characterization, plot, and sensory detail of any novel ever written in the English language, period. Do not pay any attention to a customer whose review is based on listening to the audio tape version. It doesn't do the book justice and is indeed labored to the extreme. I would also hope that readers do not form their opinions from the BBC film. It is infinitely shallow by comparison to this rich work. While the "eponymous" character remains purposefully enigmatic, the other inhabitants of Costaguena are stereoscopically fleshed out. We are on intimate terms with the Goulds. We know Decoud's innermost thoughts. It's true that Decoud is the central character of this novel. His isolation and mental defragmentation is Conrad's arguement for and refuation of existentialism. We are all islands, yet no man is in island. Take your pick. This is a very large piece of fiction. Do not approch it as you would some best seller. It's not going to entertain you on every page. What it will do is reward you in riches that can never come cheaply. Yet it is not like Finnegan's Wake, where you have to have your Boedekker's guide to see you along your journey. It's also a great adventure story, with a larger than life hero. If I could suggest one book to represent the most finely crafted novel of its era, this would be it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of the silver coast May 14, 2002
By A.J.
Format:Paperback
Joseph Conrad is one of the most effortlessly cosmopolitan writers in the English language, and "Nostromo" finds him in a fictitious South American country called Costaguana whose mountains are a bountiful resource of silver. And Conrad is probably the only writer who can transform his novel's hero from an all-around tough guy to a heroic savior to a sneaky thief to a tragic victim of mistaken identity through plausible twists of fate without ever letting the story fall into disarray.
The main action of the novel takes place towards the end of the nineteenth century in a town called Sulaco, which is the base of operations for the San Tome silver mine up in the nearby mountains. The administrator of the mine is an Englishman named Charles Gould, whose primary challenge is to find American and European speculators to invest money to keep the mine in business. The other problem he faces is a civil war between the present government and a faction of rebels led by a general named Montero. Gould's wife Emilia is a prominent figure in town, an elegant matron with a philanthropic attitude towards the downtrodden native mine workers and townspeople.
The hero, Nostromo, is an Italian sailor who settled in Costaguana for more lucrative work and is now in charge of keeping the dockworkers -- the "cargadores" -- in line. When Montero's troops invade Sulaco, Nostromo and Martin Decoud, an aristocratic Frenchman who runs Sulaco's newspaper, escape on a boat with the town's silver treasury to protect it from the marauders. Their boat is sideswiped and damaged by a ship commanded by a rebel colonel named Sotillo, and they are forced to moor on a nearby island and bury the treasure there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silver of the Mine
There are a few writers who can place you in an environment and after a few chapters, you soak into it and you smell it, and feel the heat, and the smell the sweat and dust. Read more
Published 5 days ago by christopher telcontar
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite work by Joseph Conrad
First and foremost, I really love Conrad's The Secret Agent. It is a fascinatingly modern novel with complex human problems and black humour. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best
The first half of the book was very dull and hard to concentrate on. While it set the background on the events to follow,and was well written, still the first 150 pages or so were... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Glaublich
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read for vocabulary fans
Surprising that Conrad is able to find so many little known (at least in today's world) and seldom used English words and weave them into a story of early Latin American politics,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Herkpilot
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostromo, a Tale of the Seaboard Joseph Conrad great book
excellent book. josef conrad is the greatest writer of all time. read them all and he is hands down the best. this is a great tale of a good man gone bad over a woman. Read more
Published 6 months ago by george g. finley
3.0 out of 5 stars Trudge
Conrad's brilliant writing seems wasted on a largely uninteresting cast of characters who plod through a dull existence in a remote place. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Temple Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story!
I don't like Conrad's literary style. It's all third person point of view and can seem didactic and preachy. However! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Phineas Phinque
1.0 out of 5 stars Illegible
Half of the text in this book is printed outside of the page. On top of not being able to read all of the chapters in the middle section of the book, the paper and binding are of... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Bianca Costanzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great colonial tale
Wonderfully rich language from Conrad. Characters richly developed. Story moves along building like a true epic. Fantastic and truly memorable.
Published 16 months ago by Kristen Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the best....
First, this is not the book I expected from reading the back of the cover--I expected a psychological study of Nostromo, a trusted character who steals a boat load of silver from a... Read more
Published 16 months ago by gammyraye
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