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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conrad sampler
Both previous reviewers of this edtion have focused on the title story, the 'Narcissus', which could be called a short novel or a long story. Fair enough, it is a brillant one with some issues that need discussion.
But don't overlook that this Penguin edition also contains other texts: the equally brillant sea tales 'Youth' and 'The Secret Sharer', and then some...
Published on February 3, 2009 by H. Schneider

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Purchase a better copy
I would warn other Amazon customers to avoid purchasing this book. Not only is it full of typographical errors, I have the distinct impression errors were made in reproducing some of the dialogue! This is quite evident in the Narcissus short story. Quite honestly, the book appears to have been done very quicly and on the cheap. Corners were definitely cut to make this...
Published on November 27, 2010 by T. Kowalczyk


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conrad sampler, February 3, 2009
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Both previous reviewers of this edtion have focused on the title story, the 'Narcissus', which could be called a short novel or a long story. Fair enough, it is a brillant one with some issues that need discussion.
But don't overlook that this Penguin edition also contains other texts: the equally brillant sea tales 'Youth' and 'The Secret Sharer', and then some more.

'The Lagoon' is possibly the weakest story here. A white man travels in Borneo, stays over night in the house of a Malay friend, on the title lagoon, and finds that the woman of the house is dying of fever. The husband tells his guest the story how he eloped with the woman with the help of his brother, who died in the escape, killed by the pursuers. The death of the woman is seen as heavenly retribution for the desertion of the brother, and now the man will go and take revenge. Not very impressive.

'An Outpost of Progress' is a sarcastic story on the pretensions of colonialism. Two Belgian imbeciles (minor Almayers, one could say) try to run a trading station in the Congo colony and fail in cluelessness.

'The Idiots' is set in the Bretagne, where Conrad picked up the story during his honeymoon. A wealthy and anticlerical farmer gets married, so as to have sons who can inherit. Tragically, the couple is hit with misfortune and the first 3 sons turn out to have some kind of unspecified mental handicap, hence the title. The man gets talked into going to church to confess and pray for healthy offspring, but, as the Doors told us: you can't petition the Lord with prayer. The next child is not only a girl, bad enough, but again not mentally right. The parents are devastated. The man holds it against the woman, he becomes violent and abusive, she kills him in defense, gets rejected by her mother, and commits suicide.

'The Informer'is a brillant prelude to the 'Secret Agent'. We have one of the anarchists, an aristocratic traitor of his class, tell the narrator, a collector of porcelain, the story how he rooted out a police informer in a London terrorist group by faking a police raid. This is by far the strongest among the 'not sea'-stories in this volume.

'Il Conde' is about an aging count living alone in the Naples area, who gets mugged by a young Camorra (ie local mafia) member. A lot of the tension in this story comes from the fact that Conrad steps very carefully around a central aspect: the count probably solicited sexual services from the mugger. We don't know that for sure from the text, though. Conrad picked up this story from a fellow Pole when vacationing in Capri.

'The Duel' is a lengthy semi-farce about two swashbuckling cavalry officers in Napoleon's grande armee. It makes great fun of military codes of honour. The story was filmed with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine under the name 'The Duellists'. Amusing, but not much depth here. But you can learn some about the Napoleonic times. (The Poles loved him because he promised them statehood. He couldn't quite deliver on the promise due to the winter campaign disaster, but true love withstands reality.)

If you thought of Conrad only as a seaman, here you have him in a broader spectrum. Not all of it is brillant, but none of it is uninteresting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight, November 27, 2008
Originally published in 1897this book is considered to be the turning point in Conrad's career. The book has also been published under the title The Children of the Sea: A Tale of the Forecastle.

This is a very good short novel. It has strong characters, great navel insight and is a study of the character of men. It also has to do with the lives of men in general - the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

In an interesting way it weaves a tale of deceit that becomes a reality. James "Jimmy" Waits, a west Indian black sailor waits for illness and is waiting for death.

It explores not only the deceits of men, but how man deals with illness and death in confined space. It was an excellent read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An influence, October 21, 2010
This review is from: The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' and Other Stories (Paperback)
This was one of Faulkner's favorite stories--one he would re-read every year, according to his biographers. In my opinion, Narcissus is one the key texts that Faulkner's own style is derived from (Proust seems like another inspiration). There are passages in Sanctuary and Light and August, for example, that read as if they have been lifted from Conrad's lost drafts of Narcissus.

Just my two cents. This is a great, lyrical work worth reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Purchase a better copy, November 27, 2010
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This review is from: The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' and Other Stories (Paperback)
I would warn other Amazon customers to avoid purchasing this book. Not only is it full of typographical errors, I have the distinct impression errors were made in reproducing some of the dialogue! This is quite evident in the Narcissus short story. Quite honestly, the book appears to have been done very quicly and on the cheap. Corners were definitely cut to make this price point! I would recommend you purchase a version by another publisher.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fine writing, disappointing print quality, May 4, 2010
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This review is from: The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' and Other Stories (Paperback)
Conrad's fine prose is marred by countless printing errors in this Digiread version. Frequent missing characters and even whole words interfere with the pleasure of reading and demonstrate Digiread's lack of concern for quality.
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The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' and Other Stories
The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' and Other Stories by Joseph Conrad (Paperback - January 1, 2009)
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