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Nostromo (Twentieth Century Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]

Joseph Conrad
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Mar 1990 014018371X 978-0140183719 1st New edition
A novel, in which Charles Gould returns to South America determined to make a success of the inheritance left to him by his father, the San Tome mine. But his dreams are thwarted as the country is plunged into revolution.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 1st New edition edition (29 Mar 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014018371X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140183719
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,735,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Conrad (originally Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. His parents, ardent Polish patriots, died when he was a child, following their exile for anti-Russian activities, and he came under the protection of his tradition-conscious uncle, Thaddeus Bobrowski, who watched over him for the next twenty-five years.

In 1874 Bobrowski conceded to his nephew's passionate desire to go to sea, and Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice.

In 1886 he obtained British nationality and his Master's certificate in the British Merchant Service. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he married Jessie George and eventually settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes.

He continued to write until his death in 1924. Today Conrad is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of fiction in English - his third language.

Product Description


"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 the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The Broadview Editions series is an effort to represent the ever-changing canon of literature in English by bringing together texts long regarded as classics with valuable, lesser-known literature. Newly type-set and produced on high-quality paper in trade paperback format, the Broadview Editions series is a delight to handle as well as to read.

Each volume includes a full introduction, chronology, bibliography, and explanatory notes along with a variety of documents from the period, giving readers a rich sense of the world from which the work emerged. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN the time of Spanish rule, and for many years afterwards, the town of Sulaco-the luxuriant beauty of the orange gardens bears witness to its antiquity - had never been commercially anything more important than a coasting port with a fairly large local trade in ox-hides and indigo. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
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 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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conrad's finest work 28 July 2003
There are many ‘classic’ novels that are very over-rated, but this is not one of them. This is a fascinating exploration of greed and obsession set in a fictional South American republic plagued by constant revolutions. 'Nostromo' explores the corrupting influence of the pursuit of material interests and is prescient in its depiction of the U.S.A.'s involvement in the politics of the region. Meticulous in its detail and insightful in its exploration of human motivations and moral weakness, the action flows quickly (for a Conrad novel!) and the many shifts in time and location steadily draw the reader into the bloody history of Costaguana and its long-suffering people. The characterisations are excellent (although the author struggles a little as usual with his female characters)as are the evocative descriptions of the landscape and society, and Conrad's prose style is simply superb. This is a great novel, which will reward the reader's perseverance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conrad is a master writer 10 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had never read anything by Joseph Conrad, but this was available for my Kindle so I down-loaded it. It is a superb book, well-written, with a gripping plot, great characterisations and very descriptive of the place and era in which it is set. Conrad is a master of the craft, and I am now working through the rest of his catalogue.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-boggling... 19 May 2004
By A Customer
'Nostromo' is one of the finest novels ever written. The array of beautifully illustrated characters display every loathsome and admirable characteristic immaginable; Decoud is pompous, self righteous and detestable, but for his unbending love for Antonia. Gould is enigmatic, strong, calm but ultimately self-centered and consumed by his craving for wealth and success. Nostromo is benevolent, strong, selfless and courageous - but displays vanity in his obsession with being widely known and adored. Sotillo is utterly repulsive, cowardly, brutal and callous.
These characters, along with a whole cast of others, play out their lives, loves and struggles with a backdrop superbly constructed by Conrad. Costaguana is entirely believable and the political climate is not only an accurate depiction of South American states of the time, but an incisive critique of world politics and imperialism.
Conrad captures the world in miniature and does it with a level of skill unmatched by any other author. 'Nostromo' is by no means the easiest read, but once you've ploughed your way through it you'll have a warm glow of satisfaction and be very glad indeed that you invested the time. A classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Conrad Novel 21 Jun 2009
This is an outstanding epic story from one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century. The writing is rich and Conrad as always fully succeeds in taking you to another place and time drawing you in to the characters and story and maintaining your intrigue to the end. Again Conrad shows off his worldly wise view of the world drawing on his own experiences. There is also some great insight into South American politics and its insidious corruption. Overall an excellent and intriguing story.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A fellow in a thousand" 20 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was first bigged up by one or other of the Leavises in the 1930s, and in some ways Conrad hasn't really recovered from this.

Some people come to his work because they've noticed that all the space ships in the 'Alien' movies are named after people and places in Conrad novels (it's true: I've no idea why, but they are, and I know at least one person who bought 'Nostromo' for that reason). Others come to him because they've heard the movie 'Apocalypse Now' was based on Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness', and they're interested in the source story. Others again read him because in literary circles, he's regarded as a giant, and 'Nostromo' as his masterpiece.

Anyone expecting instant gratification for any of the above reasons is going to be disappointed. The pace of this book is stately, the plot development equally so, and the characterisation meticulous. So patience is demanded and I think rewarded too, which is why it gets 5 stars.

The action is set in a fictional South American country whose history and geography are in effect characters in the book. Conrad spends a great deal of time on these. Thus, the port of Sulaco sits in an amphitheatre formed by mountains and a plain, and its harbour is another amphitheatre in which the main plot event occurs. The town itself is characterised by its parallelograms and rectangles of light and shade, and there is a distinction drawn between how people think and act in either environment.

There is a large cast for a Conrad novel - besides the title character there are the Goulds, the old revolutionary Giorgio Viola and his family, the diplomat Don Jose Avellanos, the buffoon sea captain Mitchell, the cynic Monygham, the nihilist Decoud, various generals, and others besides.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor edition
Bad American edition, with fragile glue binding and the title of another book at the head of every page. No introduction or notes - essential in a novel of this complexity.
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars !
Who wouldn't be delighted to find the public domain list of FREE classic literature. This is fantastic. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. Little
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it really a great English novel?
Leavis considered it one of Conrad's two masterpieces. Not sure I can agree or whether I am being conned by the reputation when I read this. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Miketang
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to my Kindle library.
I chose this rating on the basis of ease of "purchase" - I believe it was free. I would recommend to others.
Published 16 months ago by Robert Milton R M Milton
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed the read
Not something that i would read normally as it was free i downloaded it and rather enjoyed it, wish i had read his books at school
Published 17 months ago by Abbi G
1.0 out of 5 stars A pity really...
...because I like other works by Conrad. Sadly though, this one beat me. It's not often I give up on a book, but the long-winded, convoluted descriptions and clumsy grammar left me... Read more
Published on 13 Mar 2012 by HunterDThompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
Nostromo seems to appear in most of the authoritative lists of the best novels of the twentieth century, so the fact that it's a brilliant, intricate, masterful book is too obvious... Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2011 by Mr. H. N. Steinberg
2.0 out of 5 stars A defective transfer?
When selecting which of the many available versions of this classic novel to buy for my Kindle, I tended toward those editions that clearly stated who the publisher is/was. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by Jonathan Targett
1.0 out of 5 stars Long, unwieldy sentences
Long, unwieldy sentences, peppered with semi-colons, hyphens and commas ..... working out which part of the sentence the sub-ordinate clause refers back to is no mean achievment. Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2011 by oggy
4.0 out of 5 stars Latin American saga
A classically absorbing novel of adventure, passion and intrigue. It takes some perseverance to get through the complexities of the revolution, but the emerging drama of Nostromo's... Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by Amazon Customer
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