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Nostromo

Nostromo

Written by Joseph Conrad

Narrated by Nigel Anthony


Nostromo

Written by Joseph Conrad

Narrated by Nigel Anthony

ratings:
3.5/5 (24 ratings)
Length:
18 hours
Released:
Oct 1, 2008
ISBN:
9789629547714
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Set in the fictional South American country of Costaguana, Nostromo explores the volatile politics and crippling greed surrounding the San Tomé silver mine. The story of power, love, revolutions, loyalty and reward is told with richly evocative description and brilliantly realised characters. But Nostromo is more than an adventure story; it is also a profoundly dark moral fable. Its language is as compellingly resonant as the sea itself; the characters absorbing and complex. It was Conrad’s masterwork, a forerunner of Modernism, and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
Released:
Oct 1, 2008
ISBN:
9789629547714
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Polish-born Joseph Conrad is regarded as a highly influential author, and his works are seen as a precursor to modernist literature. His often tragic insight into the human condition in novels such as Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent is unrivalled by his contemporaries.


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What people think about Nostromo

3.4
24 ratings / 25 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Conrad's 'Big' novel. A tale of a treasure lost, gained, and ultimately the loss of all.
  • (2/5)
    I read Nostromo for the book group at the library. I suppose it was good for me, but I didn't enjoy it. It seemed to take forever to get to the point, and then it wasn't clear to me what this book is really about. There are a multitude of characters, but no real central character to hold it together (despite the novel being named after one of them). Once I made my way past the first third of the book, it was at least readable. It would have been nice to have the multitude of Spanish terms translated.
  • (2/5)
    After a year of false starts, I finally admitted I just couldn't get into this book. It's strange because I've loved a lot of Conrad's work, and I certainly see the same beauty of writing here, but this one just wasn't grabbing me. I don't know if it's the slower pace than most of his (but his other relatively long books also start slowly), that he was writing further outside his experience than usual, or that I've changed and some of the troubling things about Conrad now bother me more than they used to.
  • (3/5)
    I understand why some reviewers failed to finish the book; it's quite a contrast to most 20th century fiction. But worth persevering as one gets into the characters of both the place and the people, Conrad's style maing them real. I loved it - the three stars reflect its difficulties.
  • (4/5)
    A very good novel involving a South American revolution and more than one heroic act by the named character. It proves that a classic novel may be fast-paced, and moving. the prose is of a very high standard, and the characters well drawn. I've always thought this 1904 novel was Conrad's best work. By the way I read an earlier Penguin reprint, run off in 1963, with no editorial apparatus.
  • (4/5)
    Absoluut Conrad's meest geslaagde roman. Uiteraard moeilijke lectuur door voortdurende verschuiving in tijd, ruimte en verteller, maar toch zeer geslaagd proc?d?.Kern van het verhaal: hoe zilver zelfs de hardste rots vermurwd, nostromo: dat zijn we allemaal
  • (5/5)
    This one's tough to review. I want to recommend it to everyone, but that's probably just a waste of a lot of time. I read this about ten years ago as a young college student, and just re-read it. Even while re-reading, the only things I remember are i) wondering to myself, if this book is called Nostromo, why is Nostromo absent for most of the book? ii) a short passage about bringing people into a paradise of snakes, and iii) Nostromo saying to himself "If I see smoke coming from over there, they are lost." I have no idea why I remembered iii), but there you go.

    The trick is, this book is great, but only if you've already done a *lot* of reading, particularly of the late nineteenth and early century's best novelists. Proust helps a lot. So does James. Even the less difficult modernists, like Forster, are useful. But Nostromo is not like Ulysses. I didn't understand Ulysses, but Joyce's writing is nice and there are some jokes to keep you going. Conrad's style here is wonderful, but not the sort of wonderful that keeps you going on its own. You need to be able to follow the plot, and you have to learn how to follow it.

    But if you're either well-read or dedicated enough, this must be one of the best 50 novels- maybe even 20- of the twentieth century. The characters are hard to get a handle on, but once you do, they're extraordinary. Conrad's way of presenting the story is formally amazing. I've also been reading Genette's 'Narrative Structures,' and the tools in that book help make sense of this one (although Nostromo also shows up the problems with Genette's concepts, since they function best in first person narratives and not so well with third person narratives). The narrative seems to be all over the place. You get the consequences of and event before you get the event; you get two line summaries of what seem to be (but aren't) the most important events... and so it goes.

    So do yourself a favour. Read the first four chapters. If you don't get into them, just stop and try it again ten years later. But keep trying!
  • (1/5)
    boring, hard to follow because nothing happened and people's names changed. characters were like stock characters. i liked the last 10 pages because things happened. i can't remember what the silver was all about. so long for nothing.
  • (3/5)
    This is a wonderful novel, redolent with the atmosphere of 19th century South America, the coming of the railways, the exploitation of the land and minerals and the upheaval of revolution and dictatorship. The central character spends most of the novel in the background, a charismatic figure, more legend than flesh. The action centres on those who are reliant on his ability to get the workers to do what is necessary to make the colonials rich. Conrad as ever makes his characters believable. I felt very invested in the various stories. The only let down was the slightly OTT ending. The best bit was the plotting to become an independent state and Decoud's passion for that cause. I wish I'd had the time to sit and read it without interruption, though, because it did require a level of concentration I don't always have the luxury of affording a book!
  • (3/5)
    I thought it a strange choice for Conrad to name this book Nostromo, as I found that character to be particularly problematic. He plays a very minor role in the beginning half of this novel, though the title makes clear that his role will not stay so confined forever. In this early segment people describe him, but we never see him act in line with those descriptions. Later, when he becomes important, he acts entirely contrary to how he is described.

    It is bizarre to have a character described as one in a thousand, a paragon of virtue, and always perfectly honest when the character almost immediately contradicts all of those descriptions. Conrad gets no characterization points for Nostromo.

    Nor does he get any points for a satisfactory climax to his story: just as the tension of the story reaches its zenith Conrad skips ahead in time to when everything has been resolved. Another bizarre choice.

    Nostromo is nothing special, if you want to read some Conrad outside of Heart of Darkness try The Secret Agent instead.
  • (4/5)
    Absoluut Conrad's meest geslaagde roman. Uiteraard moeilijke lectuur door voortdurende verschuiving in tijd, ruimte en verteller, maar toch zeer geslaagd procédé.Kern van het verhaal: hoe zilver zelfs de hardste rots vermurwd, nostromo: dat zijn we allemaal
  • (2/5)
    For now, I am not desperately impressed with this book. I'm also not anywhere near done with it…

    This is one of the "Library for the Blind And Physically Handicapped" books on tape. I've set my options as widely as possible on this, so I can receive books that I would not necessarily otherwise think of reading. I listen after I'm ready for bed, before I am asleep. Think of it as a grownup version of "bedtime story."

    This book has the effect of a mild sedative, so far. It starts, and I'm asleep in something like 10 minutes.

    Update: I give up. I'm only getting about 7 minutes out of 45. In other words, I'm falling asleep within 4 minutes!

    Maybe some books can be enjoyed that way. This one… Not so much!


  • (5/5)
    With Nostromo Conrad plumbs the depths of human frailty, offering an intimate study in psychology and human relations. Unlike other of his novels he uses a greater canvas to consider the wider political and economic world.The story is one of a silver mine in the Occidental Province of “the imaginary (but true)” Latin American country of Costaguana, and the crisis by which the province passes from the chaos of post-colonial misrule to the unquiet prosperity of Anglo-American imperial capitalism. With the country beset by instability and warfare, Senor Gould, the mine's owner, decides to remove the silver and keep it out of the hands of the warlords.To do so, Gould turns to Nostromo, the top stevedore and the most trusted man in Sulaco. Nostromo is resourceful, daring, loyal and—above all—incorruptible. His illustrious reputation is his most prized possession. Says one character, "the only thing he seems to care for...is to be well spoken of." Well, you can see the tragic flaw right there. Even the most incorruptible are, ultimately, corruptible.The book's psychological depth and narrative structure, with its distorted timeline, were innovative for the era. The huge array of characters and interactions have been compared to War and Peace. Irony abounds: the non-chronological plotline tips us off to consequences before we know what led up to them—and results in a sense of inexorable fate pulling characters to their ultimate destiny.This story combined with a love triangle between Nostromo and two sisters Linda and Giselle make for an entertaining and intriguing novel. Told in Conrad's inimitable prose style this is one of his greatest achievements.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Conrad's vivid and evocative descriptions of the land, sea, and sky can be overwhelming, even when read in short sections from DailyLit.This is his third book in a row that I've read (Outcast of the Island and Lord Jim) while working up to deal with Heart of Darkness.It is the first one where a Conrad character leaped out to be loved and admired > GIORGIO!The plot of Nostromo's tangents is sustained through often confusing political turmoil, even though he is often missing from most of the action."Negro liberals" is still a mystery...As is how Nostromo's character so radically changed from incorruptible to not calling the priest for his dying friend,to his odd epiphany about loving Giselle, and, strangest of all, his desertion of Decoud.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I did not finish this book. I have thoroughly enjoyed Conrad's other novels, but after 100+ pages and no sign of a plot, I gave up.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    This was a very good book, and I am only surprised that I did not consider it to be excellent. It felt fresh and immediate (though written a century ago), with an interesting story, engaging characters, and comments on society. I'm tempted to think that I needed to be in a different frame of mind to savour its full worth, but on the other hand one of the measures of a good book is the extent to which it draws the reader into its world. I damn this very good book with faint praise.
  • (3/5)
    In high school we read Victory by Joseph Conrad. Any one I have mentioned this to since can't believe that it was considered a good idea to have Conrad read by high school students. Certainly it did nothing for me and, as a result, I refused to read anything else by Conrad. Until now when some online friends were reading Nostromo and I decided to join them.I am happy to report that as an adult I managed to make it through the book and even found parts of it to admire. The story can be summarized quite briefly. In a fictional South American country, a large silver mine run by an Englishman, Mr. Gould, flourishes and brings prosperity to the local economy. However, in the rest of the country political unrest is common. When Mr. Gould learns that the moderate president has been unseated and that the revolutionaries are going to come for the mine he decides to send all the silver bars off-shore for safekeeping. The person chosen to undertake this dangerous mission is Nostromo, an Italian sailor who has become indispensable to the town and seaport. In the dark the small boat carrying the silver is sideswiped by a boat of revolutionaries coming to take over the seaport. One man on board, a stowaway, manages to grab hold of the anchor rope and he is brought up onto the boat. He tells the master that the silver has sunk with the boat. In fact, Nostromo and another man have survived and manage to get the boat onto a nearby island. They hide the silver there and Nostromo returns to the town. There he is persuaded to undertake a hazardous ride and bring help which he does. By the time he returns the man left on the island has killed himself so no-one knows that the silver is safe. Nostromo decides to keep the silver for himself.In the style of the times, I suppose, there is a lot of description and slow movement of plot. Conrad is fond of long, multi-phrase sentences that are often difficult to follow. Although Nostromo is the title character, he doesn't appear in much of the narrative. I found this strange and awkward.However, having broken the curse of hating Conrad I may try Heart of Darkness which many people feel is his greatest work.
  • (5/5)
    Alongside Ulysses, my favorite novel of the 20th century. There is something so evocative in the life of this sailor, his thoughts and misgivings, in the middle of the political turmoil of a fictional Latin American country. A novel that explores the moral corruption of the most outstanding individuals, and the weaknesses of humanity, both in individual men and the community.
  • (3/5)
    Since Joseph Conrad's novels were mentioned in the last two books I read, I decided it was time for me to read him. The title story in Howard Norman's My Famous Evening tells of Marlais Abernathy Quire, a Nova Scotia woman who in 1923 left her husband and young children and made her way alone to New York just for the chance to hear Joseph Conrad read from his works at a rare public appearance. Marlais became acquainted with Joseph Conrad's works through her sister, who had traveled to Europe and brought back two of his books as a gift for Marlais. Nostromo was one of those two books. I thought reading it might help me understand why Marlais would abandon her home and family just to hear Conrad speak.Nostromo wasn't an easy read for me. The sentence structure, while grammatically correct, was unusual, and I frequently had to back up and re-read sentences in order to interpret them correctly. I concluded it's probably because English wasn't Conrad's first language. As new characters are introduced into the novel, Conrad frequently weaves flashbacks into the text, but without the visual clues of font and/or spacing common in today's novels. Finally, this is a long novel. Conrad uses an omniscient narrator, who describes in detail the physical appearance, thoughts, and motivations of even the minor characters in the novel, as well as the back story of events. I much prefer novels that show rather than tell.I'm glad I persevered and finished this book. I doubt it's one I'll read again, and it will probably be a long time before I pick up another Conrad novel. I'm no closer to identifying with poor Marlais Quire than I was before I started the book.
  • (5/5)
    'Nostromo' is good, but it is a difficult read. The thematic focus is uniformly dark and unpleasant. Every single character of the large cast is defeated. Conrad must have been depressed out of his mind when he wrote this work. The language is heavy but strong. On a technical level a very impressive novel.
  • (3/5)
    Like all Conrad books, the reader has to concentrate to fully appreciate it. The ending could be accused of being melodramatic but the best thing about the novel is the vast array of characters. As a political-historical novel, it is excellent.
  • (4/5)
    Excellent book once you get into it. Liked the shifting perspectives and the thick irony. I don't understand why this has been labelled as a book on colonial exploitation - the capitalists in this book seems to be the only half-sensible human beings around, even though money only leads to more greed and more robber barons throwing themselves up as 'democrats'. Noone escapes Conrad's irony though and all characters are flawed and helpless in the end.
  • (4/5)
    The story of 'Nostromo' hinges on the enormous wealth of treasure contained in the mountains of the fictional South American country of Costaguana. I felt as though I carried that silver on my back from page one to page four-hundred and fourty-four. Judging from his correspondence of the time (Nostromo was published in 1904), Conrad felt much the same about the writing of it.The plot of this novel is tangled, its characters largely inscrutible. An early work of the Modernist peroid of literature, it's time line is fractured and scattered. Nearly every page contains words or lines in Italian, French, or Spanish. I read 'Nostromo' with a dictionary close at hand, in order to devine the meanings of such words as "stentorian" or "imprecation" or "execrable".Despite its anguished genesis and it's dense and difficult nature, Conrad's prose is lovely and he litters the page with profound comments on society and human nature. There is much to think about here.This is a novel rife with ambiguity. Conrad seems to be struggling to come up with answers, and arriving a none. Despite this, the struggle seems paradoxially worth the effort, as though the very act of raising these questions and battling these demons has value in itself, even if the battle is ultimately lost.I know that the characters, places, themes, and ideas of 'Nostromo' will be with me for a long time to come. Lacking a satisyfing conclusion or resolution, the reading of 'Nostromo' was nevertheless a worthwhile endeavor. It has been said of 'Nostromo' that it is one of those books you can't read without having read it before. We'll, now I've read it once.
  • (3/5)
    Although this one took me a long time to finish, I really enjoyed it. It may be my favorite of the four Conrad books on the Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century -- maybe tied with The Secret Agent, which I also liked.Nostromo starts off interestingly enough, setting the stage by describing the imaginary South American country of Sulaco. Then it hits a slow patch when it goes into the details of the political situation. That's where I slowed down. But the second half picks up again, with a real adventure tale of stolen silver and star-crossed lovers. Of course, the writing throughout is elegant Conrad.
  • (2/5)
    A bit of a snooze so far. Read Lord Jim instead.