Customer Reviews: Typhoon and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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on May 3, 2006
Conrad was one of the most psychologically subtle of English novelists, and his century-old portrait of Captain McWhirr in the title story is unforgettable - not so much because of the drama, though there's eventually plenty of that, but because of Conrad's unsurpassed ability to describe complex, perfectly convincing characters you've never read about before. McWhirr is a strange mixture of meticulousness and stupidity, shyness and guts, small-mindedness and fair play. By the end of the story, you still think he's very much a fool and probably incompetent to command a sailing vessel. Yet you can't discount his determination and ability to do exactly what's needed (as well as what's right)when the time for action arrives.

Those whose reading skills are pushed to the limit by celebrity bios won't understand or appreciate this book. Despite the one-star reviews below, there are no "gay" characters here, and no sex at all. So if that's what you want, look elsewhere. But if you're up to a classic of English fiction, written with an enormous sensitivity to language (Conrad, BTW, grew up speaking Polish and only began English in his teens) these stories will stick with you.
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on March 11, 2013
If anyone is a Conrad devotee, this is probably the first short story to read, if one is interested in his works. Most of his works pit the individual against the forces of nature, man's struggle to overcome overwhelmng odds, or a work focuses on a romantic hero out to make his way in a difficult world, usually against forces beyond his control and usually on the sea. His works are voyage stories, and TYPHOON pits Captain McWhirr and his crew against an enormous storm in the China Sea, and the reader is there; right in the middle of the most terrifying experience one can imagine. I've never read anything like it, and the reader will not forget it. Conrad is not easy reading; his diction is superb, and his references in the reading are extensive. This is a writer whose native language was Polish, along with Russian, French, and German; nevertheless, his prose is beautifully written.
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on January 20, 2003
For the other reviewers, I can't believe that the only things you gathered from the book was that it was about 2 gay men and a typhoon. The book is about how people react in times of crisis, and how sometimes you can't run away from your problems; you have to face them head-on. We have MacWhirr, who is innocent, calm, and quiet, yet unwaivering and unknowingly bold during the time of disaster. Then there's Jukes, who jabbers constantly, passes judgement on people, and during time of crisis he freezes, is mostly pessimistic, and practically daydreams. And finally, there's the second mate, who is an all around sneaky and immoral person, who during bad times often "jumps ship" and declares defeat before it's even begun. MacWhirr says many times throughout the story that you have to face things, and you don't know if somethings really bad unless you have been right in the middle of it. It's a story about a man who's had his normal, peaceful life turned upside-down by an unrelenting and, in the end, revealing storm.
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on September 6, 2013
One of my Favorite writers, Joseph Conrad excels in this book of shorter works. When it arrived it was in PERFECT condition! Thank you!
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on August 11, 2013
I sent this book to my grandson in the States, but I read the copy I had. Conrad is such a good story teller and just grips you.
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on March 22, 1999
I basically have no idea what the author was writing about throughout the whole entire story. Conrad confused me...obviously he was very confused when he wrote it, too! Also, if he was trying to convey a story about a couple of fruity people in Typhoon, it worked!!!
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on February 23, 1999
Basically that is what I was asking myself through the entire book. What is going ON? I dunno, something abt a typhoon and these two gay guys on a ship I think ... Conrad needed a therapist. I think he was confused.
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