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One thinks of Heart of Darkness and even perhaps of Lord Jim when one thinks of Conrad (IF one even thinks of Conrad, let's just be honest). Nostromo, however, is an almost perfect novel: complex narrative, compelling characters, writing that makes the biblical J-writer feel she could have done better with her story. I can't think of but a handful of writers (Dostoevsky, Kafka, McCarthy, Melville) who have written a better book.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
This is a very good book that marked a monumental change in literature, but I did not find it a must read. Nostromo represents one of the earliest modernist novels. One feature of this is the entire plot and most character development could be summed up in a single big paragraph, but the novel is nearly 500 pages. The novel is not complex in plot or character, but in the unusual and complex narrative mechanics including vague and sometimes self contradictory inner processes of characters. It has been said that Nostromo can't be read, unless you have read it before. This is not true, but has quite a bit of truth in it.
One of the key underpinnings in Nostromo (and all of Conrad I have read) is that traditional history, the influence of God, and the belief in real human progress can no longer be taken seriously. In the early 1900's this was ground-breaking in a novel form, but has become quite run-of-the-mill. I would not recommend this to most readers, unless they love Conrad or are interested in the historical roots of literary modernism. Read Heart of Darkness, if you love it, do Lord Jim, if you love that, you will likely appreciate Nostromo.
The narration was good and consistent, but a little slow and monotone for my taste.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful