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Victory: An Island Tale (Modern Library Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Conrad , Peter Mallios
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Set in the islands of the Malay Archipelago, Victory tells the story of a disillusioned Swede, Axel Heyst, who rescues Lena, a young English musician, from the clutches of a brutish German hotel owner. Seeking refuge at Heyst’s remote island retreat on Samburan, the couple is soon besieged by three villains dispatched by the enraged hotelier. The arrival on the island paradise of this trio of fiends sets off a terrifying series of events that ultimately ends in catastrophe.

“With Victory, Conrad inaugurated a new style and aesthetic,” writes Peter Lancelot Mallios in his Introduction. “The tremendous literary sophistication to be found in Victory does not result in the exclusion of the popular reader.”

The text of this Modern Library Paperback Classic was set from the first British edition, published by Methuen & Co. in 1915.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews


“I am glad that I am alive, if, for no other reason, because of the joy of reading this book.” —Jack London

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1127 KB
  • Print Length: 665 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846372496
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library Pbk. Ed edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,769 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson Learned July 27, 2005
Victory presents a philosophical story of a man who learns that his own philosophy has robbed him of a life worth living. The novel is Conrad's answer to the prevailing view that only facts matter, that emotions such as love have no basis in reality.

The protagonist, Axel Heyst, is the son of a philosopher who once wrote, "Of the strategems of life, the most cruel is the consolation of love." His philosophy Conrad compares to a "terrible trumpet which had filled heaven and earth with ruins..."After his father dies, Heyst wanders the globe, looking "only for facts" until he becomes enchanted with a South Sea archipelago. Therafter, he is drawn to two people who provide models of friendship and love. Morrison, a small craft owner whose generosity has left him bankrupt, Heyst helps out of his bind only to fail to understand why the man is so grateful and anxious to repay him. But it is the girl Lena who fills him with an emotion that he cannot express or understand until the novel's end. After rescuing her from a life of exploitation, Heyst takes her back to his island where he is determined to live apart from the world.

It's only after his island is invaded by two criminals that Heyst discovers how much his actions toward Morrison and Lena were motivated by love. When he learns that the jealous hotelkeeper, Schomberg, has told everyone that "the Swede" had swindled his friend out of all his money before sending him to England to die, Heyst becomes upset, even though he had never cared what the world thought of him. When the malefactors Jones and Ricardo threaten Lena's life, he at last becomes involved in the world that he had left behind.

Suspenseful and chilling, Heyst's fight with the criminals ends with a victory having multiple meanings.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise was lost forever July 18, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Victory" is not so much a conventional novel as a fable, with strong influences of the Bible, Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Shakespeare's "The Tempest". This story is absolutely marginal, that is, it occurs to people who inhabit the margins of the world, the margins of society, and within the margins of a common life. The characters also operate in one or the other of the two extremes of morality. Axel Heyst, a Swede son of a bitter and disenchanted philosopher, is extremely influenced by the parental way of thinking, to the point that he follows the advice provided by his dying father. When Heyst, disconcerted at the foot of the bed, asks him what is the proper way to live, Heyst senior answers: "Look on, and make no sound". So, after his father dies, Axel emigrates to the colonies in Southeastern Asia, where he makes a living as a merchant, coming and going about the islands. Heyst is a distant but kind guy, always with a smile on his face and willing to help others, but always refusing any kind of intimacy. One day, he enters a business about a coal mine with an associate, the death of whom (not a murder) he is later accused of provoking, which gives him a reputation throughout the islands as a mysterious, somewhat mischievous man. His main detractor is a hotel keeper, one Schomberg, a hateful, coward, and calumnious man. After the business goes broke, Schomberg escalates his tirades about "that Swede", slowly developing an irrational hatred towards him. Meanwhile, unaware of his reputation and of Schomberg's hatred, Heyst decides to stay on the remote island where the coal mine used to be, totally isolated from humanity, except for the silent and shadowy company of his servant, Wang. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping Narrative October 12, 2000
Victory is in many ways more fluid and readable than Conrad's more dense works (for comparison sake I'd previously read Heart of Darkness and Conrad's collection of short stories Tales of Unrest.) In Victory we have Conrad's standard fare of tragedy and man's isolation, but in this case wrapped in a tale of adventure and swept along by an uncharacteristically eventful plot.
Conrad's works have, of course, been reviewed to exhaustion; the only thing that I could hope to add would be my emotional response to the novel as a reader.
Personally through the majority of the novel I found Heyst to be the only truly well defined character. Much of what we learn of him is revealed indirectly through the observations of others, but somehow Conrad manages to use this method to flesh out a complex and intriguing figure in Heyst. The remanding characters, while interesting, serve mostly as scenery. The villains Jones and Ricardo, while interesting, struck me not so much as human characters but as forces of impending doom; they could have as easily been an approaching storm or a plague or any other brand of natural disaster. The girl Lena in the end is the one exception; perhaps the one thing that I found most gratifying is the way in which her character developed as the novel neared its climax.
The Penguin Classics version is well footnoted for those of you (like me) that would have missed some of the more obscure Biblical references and allusions to Paradise Lost. The notes also comment on the narrator's shifting viewpoint, and on revisions Conrad made to subsequent editions. For those readers interested in an insight into Conrad's thinking I'd recommend this version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written. Held my interest and curiosity to ...
Very well written. Held my interest and curiosity to the end.
Published 2 months ago by Albits1
5.0 out of 5 stars A Möbius strip of the human condition
This was a difficult book for me to read because of how personal it is. I felt myself identifying far too much to the main character, Axel, than I was comfortable with. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dan Harlow
2.0 out of 5 stars Not his best effort
As much as I esteem Conrad as a genius, this tale lacks the touch. It's what I describe as 1st half good/ 2nd half ugggh. Read more
Published 2 months ago by christopher telcontar
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely bound
Very nicely bound, not a pocket book but large type and nice cover. Quote readable for an old guffer like me, 83. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Conrad's best
A multi-layered tale of love, jealously, greed and human nature.
Conrad masterfully leaves the reader perplexed and uncomfortable at the ending,
each having to come up... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Louis Podbielski
3.0 out of 5 stars Victory
Sorry I could not get into this one at all - so gave up. Some might like the style but not for me.
Published 13 months ago by Anthony Moy
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from one of my favorite authors
Beautifully constructed plot, psychological thriller from maybe my favorite of my favorite authors. I'm off to read more books from Conrad.
Published 17 months ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars The darknes in the man's behaviour
Konrad sailing inside the most deeper seas ogf the human soul. If you ant to enjoy it take your time for each of the characters.
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Top ten best books I've ever read
Unlike Conrad's,' Nostromo', this story is incredibly involved and wonderful. While you read this, you will live on an island with a devoted and loving woman for a few weeks and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by C. Garvin
5.0 out of 5 stars Of love and greed...and hope for humanity
Since there are a number of reviews outlining the story, I will focus on my reaction to the work itself. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Leapin' Literary Lurkers
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