Top positive review
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A Personal Favourite
on 1 October 2016
I don't know how many copies of this I have got through over the years as it is one of those stories that I just love reading, and in some respects it always give me something new every time I read it. I am always surprised how people think of Conrad as one of the greatest of English writers, although he was Polish and English wasn't his native tongue, but he also arguably brought something to the English novel, a more European approach.
This tale although published in 1907 is set in London in the 1880s, and it was inspired by a true event in the 1890s. Although not that popular at the time it has since come to be regarded as a classic and a masterpiece, as it so well shows us our world, also it has some of the darkest, blackest humour of any work.
Verloc is an agent provocateur in the pay of a foreign government. Running a small stationery shop, having settled down and married, taking on his wife's retarded brother and her mother, Verloc holds meetings with his fellow aged anarchists. And that is all they do, hold meetings amongst themselves, after all they are all getting on, have all settled down to some degree to a comfortable life of freedom in England. But a spanner is about to be thrown into the works. With Verloc's chief replaced he is told in no uncertain terms that he must do something for his money. Thus begins Verloc's task of committing an outrage.
Taking in Verloc's home life, the lives of his friends and the machinations of a certain foreign power, as well as the investigation of the terrorist act and the political machinations that that involves this is the ideal read for anyone interested in politics and terrorism. To be honest I have urged many people to read this over the years, and so far everyone who has has absolutely enjoyed it, so if you want to read something that is powerful and will give you an insight into how things really are, then give this a try, you won't be disappointed.