Lord Jim

  • by Joseph Conrad
  • Narrated by Nigel Graham
  • 14 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Lord Jim is a novel by Joseph Conrad, originally published in Blackwood's Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900.Originally intended as a short story, the work grew to a full-length novel as Conrad explored in great depth the perplexing, ambiguous problem of lost honor and guilt, expiation, and heroism.The story tells of Jim, a young, good-looking, genial, and naive water-clerk on the Patna, a cargo ship plying Asian waters. One night, when the ship collides with an obstacle and begins to sink, acting on impulse, Jim jumps overboard and lands in a lifeboat, which happens to be bearing the unscrupulous captain and his cohorts away from the disaster. The Patna, however, manages to stay afloat. The foundering vessel is towed into port - and since the officers have strategically vanished, Jim is left to stand trial for abandoning the ship and its 800 passengers.Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, 1857 - 1924) was a Polish-born British novelist. He is considered as one of the greatest novelists in the English language. Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great novel, stunning narration.

I read Lord Jim twenty years ago and recalled its difficulty more than its greatness. This time around the reading experience was transfixing. I am one of those readers, not so rare, who does not mind if things go very slow and get even, uh, 'boring"; for a great book has the privilege of slowing time down, and down, so we can catch all that goes on in life, before a finger snaps and it is over, as in the case in our normal days. The first half of the novel, a nearly inactive unlayering, bit by bit, of Jim's consciousness, is as brilliant as fiction can be. Marlowe's intense attention to Jim's moral pain, or what he guesses to be Jim's moral pain, is a genuine adventure and the work of genius. Oddly enough, when the book moves toward "real" action toward the end, and things get physically hot and exciting (with the entrance of Mr. Brown and others), the force of the book may falter (it does to me). So, here it is, a book as vital as they come, if you take pleasure in the path of thought and the winding turns of human consciousness; and then it is a book that slows down when guns go off and cinema takes over. The stunning reading by the narrator is one in a million. No one could do Conrad better. Nigel Graham, who has recorded only a few books, sounds like a man of the kind of world Conrad knew. No frills, no games, a solid and heavily masculine reading; and a sense that if this man -- Nigel Graham -- stood next to you under an awning during a storm, he would intimidate you and maybe scare you. A genuinely great reading that is miles above other versions I have sampled -- including the good one by John Lee. Lord Jim -- one of the great novels, and, yes, Conrad, did not start learning English until he was in his twenties. That fact makes a great book a miraculous one -- and should make us recognize what lame slackers we are.
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- John

"He Was One of Us," or the Inscrutable Human Heart

Any additional comments?

In Lord Jim (1899-1900) by Joseph Conrad an experienced, wise, and sympathetic sea captain called Marlow tries to learn, understand, and tell the story of the life of a young ship's officer called Jim (surname discretely hidden). Marlow, as we know from Conrad's The Heart of Darkness (1903), is a compelling story-teller with a bent towards the mysterious and dark quality of human nature and the universe. Jim is a charismatic and complex character, so imaginative, romantic, courageous, and lucky and so naïve, egotistical, unconfident, and doomed. We are told early on that despite (or because) of his youthful dreams of heroic adventure, Jim once did an appalling deed that blighted his promising career and life, so that he has been serving as a humble ship chandler's water clerk on a series of ships, doing a fine job for each one, but repeatedly abandoning his position and moving farther east each time that his past catches up with him, until he is given the opportunity to make a clean start in a fictional Indonesian (?) country called Patusan, a world mostly apart from his original white-European one. Will Jim finally be able to forge a new identity and atone for his past? Will Marlow finally be able to understand the inscrutable core and meaning of Jim's life?

Lord Jim is replete with vivid descriptions, like the moment before Jim's ship meets an accident, "The young moon recurved, and shining low in the west, was like a slender shaving thrown up from a bar of gold, and the Arabian Sea, smooth and cool to the eye like a sheet of ice, extended its perfect level to the perfect circle of a dark horizon," or like the gait of an abject villain, "His slow laborious walk resembled the creeping of a repulsive beetle, the legs alone moving with horrid industry while the body glided evenly." The novel also has many interesting themes about the uncaring if not inimical nature of the universe, the complexity and mystery of the human heart, the danger of being too imaginative and romantic, and the foulness of being too cynical and realistic. And it is also subtly provocative about gender and race.

Nigel Graham does a wonderful job reading Lord Jim. He has an intelligently masculine manner and an appealingly gravelly voice, effectively varies the pace of his reading, and brings the different characters to life in all their cultural, experiential, emotional, and intellectual variety.

Lord Jim is a challenging audiobook, because Marlow tells a story comprised of different things he has heard from different people at different times. And although the first half or so of the novel is a compelling psychological study, I here and there found myself losing track of its discourse. But finally all the pieces cohere and culminate in a devastating and (possibly) transcendent climax. If you like The Heart of Darkness, you'd probably like Lord Jim, but you'd need to be prepared for a longer, more complex, and sadder tale.

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- Jefferson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2009
  • Publisher: RNIB