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Almayers Folly

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  605 ratings  ·  51 reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published May 12th 2010 by Nabu Press (first published 1895)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,081)
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Darwin8u
Not my favorite Conrad, not even second tier, but it is still amazing to read. This was Conrad's debut novel and you can see flashes of his big themes (not yet mature) swirling in the deep water of his words.

'Almayer's Folly' reminded me of a gloomy, obsessive Melville novella or an alienated E. M. Forester story. It is one of those novels that if you love Conrad, you will want to read eventually (I'd read Heart of Darkness, Nostromo, Lord Jim, and Typhoon first). If your only exposure to Conrad
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Tahseen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Connie
Mar 06, 2008 Connie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in the complexity of human experience
Conrad wrote three books I LOVE set in Malaysia. The Planter of Malaya, An Outcast of the Islands and Almayers Folly. All three are related and really give a wonderful wonderful picture of what it was like to be sent there in the 19th century. I highly recommend these books over most others of Joseph Conrad. As usual I cannot remember exactly the year I read them, but not too long ago. And they stay with me.
Philip
Conrad's first novel, a truly Shakespearean tragedy of East Borneo and a veerry lonely and depressed/depressing Orang Putih. Similar in many ways to the later Lord Jim, but with none of Jim's inherent dignity and morality, Almayer is just a loser from start to finish - although his story is no less sad for his lack of any sympathetic characteristics.

Reading Conrad is never easy; and so while I enjoyed this for its thoroughly Malay setting, it was still a chore to get through, like a class assign
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1.1
I read the Wordsworth Classics version, which includes Almayer's Folly as well as some short pieces (Tales of Unrest) some of which I'd read before. The main show is a bit of a drag – Conrad's first novella demonstrates all of his skill at painting an evocative setting but very little of the intrigue and plot that keep the telling itself moving. The character of Almayer, a dissipated Dutch trader, his concerns over his beloved half-Malay daughter (who has her own ideas), and his existence in a w ...more
Fabio Raffaelli
Conrad ci presenta la storia di un uomo bianco, ambizioso, che vive in Malesia e che sposa la figlia adottiva di un ricco uomo. A quei tempi di suddivisione in classi razziali, questo matrimonio appariva sconsiderato ad un occidentale, ma Almayer, il protagonista, non esita ad accettarlo per il suo desiderio di denaro e scalata sociale. Ma il matrimonio, soprattutto dopo l'allontanamento della figlia nata dai consorti, risulta infelice, arrivando a rendere Almayer sempre più arcigno e sua moglie ...more
Meredith
I started this book three times before finally plunging in. Then I loved it. It resonates powerfully with many of Conrad's other novellas--Heart of Darkness, Freya of the Seven Isles, The Shadow-Line, The Secret-Sharer. (The Secret Agent also came to mind.)

Set in Borneo, the narrative describes Almayer, a trader of Dutch origin, and his decline into poverty, disgrace, grief, madness, dementia, opium-addiction, and death. The work's vivid characters include Almayer's hated "witch" Malay wife, his
...more
Lars
The central issue of the novel takes quite a while to piece together, but by about a hundred pages in, you'll be hooked in 'til the finish. While Conrad begins the novel on essentially the climatic day of Almayer's life(a sort of "last big score plot"), he then steps back to give us Almayer's backstory, the development of his malaysian surroundings, his friends, family and enemies(whose designations become overlapped). It reads like quite a digression for a while, but Conrad is thorough in provi ...more
Lyn
First published in 1895, Almayer’s Folly was Joseph Conrad’s first novel, written within a year after he stepped onto the dock after his long career at sea. Set in colonial Borneo, Almayer’s Folly deals with many of the themes that he would return to again and again over his successful and influential career as a writer: a dependency on the seas and the river trade, colonialism, race – particularly as between the natives and the European colonists, distinctions between Eastern and Western cultur ...more
Salvatore
False advertising, this book wasn't funny at all. But seriously, perhaps if I hadn't read any other Conrad this book would be more favourable. It breathes life into Women and the Locals who the White Men have Colonized, something for which Conrad is criticized elsewhere for not doing. It's a romance between a daughter and a competitor, which ultimately destroys the father in a beautiful and sorrowful way. His dreams are his daughter's suffocations. Almayer's desire to forget her at the end is al ...more
David
The third Joseph Conrad book I have read, the others being Heart of Darkness and a Collection of his short stories. The first half of the book was a slog, and the book might more accurately be called Almayer's follies, as cannot recall a single choice he made that actually resulted in a good outcome. There was a good deal of excellent prose in the last few chapters. I can't say I would recommend this novel unless you are quite the devotee of Conrad's work. That being said, it also is quite incis ...more
Lisa
Apr 24, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: C20th Yahoo reading group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
KC
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mkp
Joseph Conrad's first novel is fascinating and atmospheric -- an amazing first effort for a non-native English speaker. It tells the story of Kaspar Almayer, an isolated Dutch trader in the East Indies in the late 19th century. Almayer has an arranged, loveless marriage to a Malaysian woman, and a beloved daughter Nina, who falls in love with a Malaysian adventurer Dain. The narrative focalization shifts across a number of characters, including Almayer, Nina, Dain, and Almayer's adversaries (not ...more
Nicholas
This tale of misfortune and mental breakdown is not as dark as you'd expect,as you never feel any sympathy for the main character.
The novel is the template for much of Conrad's best work, based on what I assume was the first hand observation of colonialism in the southern hemisphere and the effects of a tropical climate and culture on the men who pioneered trade there.
At the start his writing style is slightly less convoluted than his later works ,but the seeds of his luscious and verdant ver
...more
Katja
A story of a miserable Dutch man living all his life in a jungle, longing for a European life he never knew. Of course, there are more characters: his cruel and crazy wife, a native; their mixed daughter who has to decide between two worlds; a mysterious hero; a mean and sly old man, etc. They all run into one another, their relationships build a complex network, there is even a twist in the story but overall the novel has a touch of soap opera.
Tom Leland
Had a very hard time with this -- in fact gave it up at one point.
Couldn't follow hierarchy of characters - became quite confused early on; but much
of it came clear by time I finished it. Unbelievable passage where father is so intent
on forgetting his daughter who he imagines has betrayed him, he fills in each of her beach
footsteps with sand.
Grady Ormsby
I've been a long-time Conrad fan. I like his formalism. I like his modernism. I like his humane, broad-view politics. I like his psychological insights.

Rules have exceptions. Although I agree with the idea that one should follow his dreams, there are limitations. Some dreams are unrealistic. Some dreams are narrow and self-centered. Some dreams are delusions. When one's dreams involve others, it's probably best to have the others share the dreams.

Kaspar Almayer is the creator of his own profoun
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Feliks
I'm a devoted fan of Conrad but I'm sorry to say this is easily his worst effort. It was appallingly bad. A chore to read. Only brute will kept me at it. Only a die-hard completist (like myself) should force oneself to muddle through this one.

All his worst traits are not just 'on occasional display'--but exposed with full force. Long passages of labored, repetitive, saying-the-same-thing-a-dozen-ways prose. Poor description of the setting; leaden and unlively narrative. Weakly conceived story ov
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Trent England
Conrad's first, not his best, but an essential read to appreciate his skill and development, and a fine story.
Jessica Bang
The beginning is set up in a way where the plot is predictable, but the story as a whole is well-paced.
Dale
This is a sad book, an insightful book, a strange book, and ultimately a good book. The prose is descriptive and beautiful; it does a magnificent job of painting this far off place, just as it does a great job of showing the political, cultural, and social struggles of the time.

I say it is strange because the characters are almost too set in their ways. There is no room for change or development. But they do not feel like caricatures. And maybe that tells us something. About the time certainly,
...more
Sunny
You can definitely see the nascent stages of some of conrads heart of darkness characters in this book. thebook is about a "white" guy who gets maried to a malay girl and goes to live in her part of the world in search of riches. His plan is thwarted by his beautiful daughter who absconds with a local malay. the plot is essentially geared around Almayer's demise. the scenery beautifully described as is some of the poignant moments between father and daughter. gets a bit confusing in the middle b ...more
Haythem Bastawy
More interesting than Lord Jim, but as racist as his Heart of Darkness!
Leo W.
Road to perdition in colonial Malay Archipelago. Just love Conrad.
Lucy
On reflection, the passion stuff near the end is horribly overdone, but carried me along while I was reading it - he makes a good job of matching emotions to landscape. I found the plot a bit hard to follow in the middle of the book - I believe he wrote it over a long period, and this shows. The characterisation is utterly convincing, from major to minor characters, and it seems fairly clear that Conrad hadn't a high opinion of human nature. Well worth reading.
Daniel Simmons
Minor Conrad, but minor Conrad is still leagues better than lots of the stuff lining shelves these days. Having made recent trips to Sulawesi and Malaysian Borneo, I enjoyed the references to South China Sea political and economic intrigues. Still, I was hoping for more dynamic and/or sympathetic characters, and the writing got pretty overwrought at times (before he learned to better rein himself in, in books like "Lord Jim" and "Heart of Darkness").
Stew
Interesting to compare this to Heart of Darkness and see how Conrad grew as a writer from the former to the latter. This is an interesting story that had at several points the potential to be a great adventure story, but to mirror the many foibles of man, it managed to be a story of heart break and disappointment for it's namesake. Anyone who considers themselves a student of Conrad should read this book.
Noah

'Almayers Folly' is Conrads first novella and, like all his stories, is beautifully written and proves he's one of the worlds greatest writers.

That being said, very little happens in this story and, despite how short it is, takes a while to get through. This is primarily because each sentence feels like a story in of itself, which is both good and bad.

Overall, I'd say 'Almayers Folly' is worth the read.
Jim Leckband
Conrad's first novel has a lot of the themes that he worked with in his later books, such as Heart of Darkness. The atmosphere of colonial Malaysia in the 19th century is so palpable that I sometimes thought I was sweating in the jungle as I was reading it. Conrad's prose style is dense and rich. While the book may seem physically short (i.e. in pages), the reading goes pleasantly slow.
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Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard Bri
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More about Joseph Conrad...
Heart of Darkness Lord Jim Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer Nostromo

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“The well-known shrill voice startled Almayer from his dream of splendid future into the unpleasant realities of the present hour. An unpleasant voice too. He had heard it for many years, and with every year he liked it less. No matter; there would be an end to all this soon.” 2 likes
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