The Shadow-Line

  • by Joseph Conrad
  • Narrated by Fred Williams
  • 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Written at the start of the Great War, when his son Borys was at the Western Front, The Shadow-Line is Conrad's supreme effort to open man's eyes to the meaning of war through the stimulus of art. In many ways an autobiographical narrative, this masterpiece of his final period relates the story of a young and inexperienced sea captain whose first command finds him with a ship becalmed in tropical seas and a crew smitten with fever. As he wrestles with his conscience and with the sense of isolation that his position imposes, the captain crosses the "shadow-line" between youth and adulthood. It is the qualities, both individual and collective, needed to confront the ship's crisis that symbolize the qualities needed by humanity, not only to face evil and destruction but also to come to terms with life.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I'm a fan of Joseph Conrad, but this isn't his best work. It's windy and over-written, and seems dated, unlike most of his work. It's not helped by the narrator, who sounds like an old fogey sitting in an armchair with a plaid rug over his legs, and who often seems to get the rhythm or emphasis wrong.

The story is of a young man on his first real command, and though it's told in retrospect at the end of his career the narration was out of sync with the story, which needed to be told more vigorously, and by a person you could imagine once was a man of action. I was disappointed - though clearly others thought different - and might have given it an extra star had it been read as it should have been.
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- Peter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-22-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.