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3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  12,013 Ratings  ·  429 Reviews
Joseph Conrad's 1904 adventure novel, set amid the mist-covered mountains of a fictional South American republic, spins a colorful tale of capitalist exploitation and rebellion. The story begins halfway through the revolution, employing flashbacks and glimpses of the future to depict the lure of silver and its effects on men — corrupting and destroying some, revealing the ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Dover Publications (first published 1904)
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Mar 17, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Nostromo is considered by many to be Conrad’s greatest novel. The ambiguous nature of good and evil, the importance of duty, common themes in all of Conrad’s novels, get an epic treatment in Nostromo (my Modern Library edition is 630 pages long). But for all of its length, the novel, after the first dense, foundation building 50 pages or so, reads quickly. Published in 1904, the book has the feel of a modern novel. It’s a book about revolutions, money, and character, told through different voice ...more
Sep 30, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Nostromo, Joseph Conrad’s South American novel reminds me somehow of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, perhaps the setting of mines in South America.

The underlying political ideologies are also reminiscent to some extent on Rand’s objectivism, and both author’s guileless mistrust of democracy ambles towards, but never wholly approaches, a Nietzschean ideal. In this aspect, Nostromo “the incorruptible” can be compared and contrasted with Kurtz, Conrad's archetypal villain from Heart of Darkness. Wherea
Jul 29, 2008 Dale rated it really liked it
Nostromo was a difficult read for me. I started this book many years ago and gave up after the first 50 pages. This time I plowed through, and I'm glad I did. There's a lot of depth to this novel, but you don't see it until about halfway in.

The story takes place in a fictional South American country called Costaguana at the turn of the 20th century. An Englishman named Charles Gould has inherited a ruined mining concession, and undertakes to restore it, mostly as a means of sticking a thumb in t
Feb 13, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
Conrad is cynical, in the best sense of that word. Lord Jim was one of my favorite books, and Nostromo is probably even better. Although it is difficult to become acquainted with the characters at first, the reader cannot help but understand them in a profound way by the end. Conrad's worldview is disturbing but also compelling, as he uses character, symbolism, and allegory to tell a realistic story with an abundance of lessons.
Apr 22, 2013 Ivana rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece...

The funny thing is that for about a third of the novel, I had this strange feeling that there is something that was alluding me, something that I was not quite getting, like the story was for ever reason hard to follow and yet at the same time I felt immersed in the story and wanted to read more and more...

The characters seemed as real and as vivid as they possibly could had and still I felt a sense of distance, a fairy tale feeling. As I made my way towards to end, I had a feel
Dec 22, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing
This is my third reading of this strange and remarkable book. As I began re-reading the first half of the story, I felt disappointed -- as if my taste as the young student who first read this book had somehow traduced me. There was no central figure in this story: It was certainly not Gian' Battista Fidanza, a.k.a. Nostromo, the handsome capataz de cargadores; nor was it Charles and Emily Gould, owners of the San Tomé silver mine; nor was it the host of other characters that Conrad parades befor ...more
Jun 27, 2016 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandonded
DNF at 85 pages. This was a second attempt. I was so bored I couldn't make myself go on. I think I got to about 150 the first try. Maybe I'll push through it some day after I've read and enjoyed other books by Conrad.
Mar 14, 2011 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I've tried. I really have. But after one short story (The Secret Sharer) and four novels (Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent, Lord Jim and now, Nostromo), I've come to the considered conclusion that I really don't appreciate Conrad. I admire him for his prodigious output, especially since he's a non-native English speaker who only learned to speak the language fluently when he was in his 20s (and even then, reportedly with a strong Polish accent). But with perhaps the exception of The Secret Ag ...more
I found this highly-acclaimed novel, "Nostromo," by Joseph Conrad quite tough to read, I mean how to focus on its mysterious plot, lengthy narrative, unfamiliar Spanish/French words or sentences, etc. I had no choice but kept reading based on my heart's content, that is, I'd read whenever I was in the mood and regarded it as a kind of my sleeping medicine. I kept consoling myself that I loved him since I had read his "Heart of Darkness" and "Lord Jim", therefore, this was simply another reading ...more
Hugo Emanuel
Mar 19, 2015 Hugo Emanuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
“Nostromo” de Joseph Conrad é uma obra que pretende acima de tudo evidenciar os efeitos e consequências, tanto negativos como positivos, que advêm do interesse económico de potências externas na riqueza de nações em desenvolvimento. Para ilustrar tais consequências e impacto, tanto a nível politico como individual, o autor recorre á fictícia província de Sulaco, parte de Costaguana, cuja principal fonte de riqueza é a mina de prata de São Tomé, deixada por herança ao inglês Charles Gould pelo se ...more
Nancy Burns
Oct 04, 2014 Nancy Burns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J. Conrad is one of the best 20th C wrtiers!
Now I know WHY....The Modern Library ranked Nostromo 47th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th C.
My next challenge will be to read ALL of his books because I know I WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

Here is my review:
no...there is no peace and no rest in the development of material interests. They have their law, and their justice. But it is founded on expediency, and it is inhuman; it is without rectitude, without the continuity and the force that can be found only in a moral principle (p423)

On the reread I feel that this unrelentingly bleak novel is the novel of the twentieth century, at least for a fair proportion of the population of the world, this could be the country of Heart of Darkness once it had
Sep 22, 2016 Nick rated it liked it
Joseph Conrad's "Nostromo" gets much love, perhaps more than any of the writer's works: the Modern Library ranks it high among all novels and F. Scott Fitzgerald was a particular fan. But in all the discussion about "Nostromo", I have yet to see any commentary on how oddly constructed it is. Conrad gets many things right about nineteenth century Latin America: the struggle between economic liberals and traditionalists, the deciding importance of the Army and especially its charismatic generals, ...more
Ivana Split
Jun 01, 2016 Ivana Split rated it really liked it
“She was highly gifted in the art of human intercourse which consists in delicate shades of self-forgetfulness and in the suggestion of universal comprehension.”
― Joseph Conrad, Nostromo

I’m opening this review with a quote that to me personally seems to reveal something of this novel’s complexity. Universal comprehension, the suggestion of what lies beneath the surface, at times even mysticism…all of this can be found in this novel, for Conrad’s works are very profound and complex. It is deepl
Alex Sarll
At once an epic Boy's Own adventure and a grand philosophical novel, in which Conrad creates a little world somewhere on the coast of South America and peoples it with heroes (who turn out to be not so much flawed as all flaw, well camouflaged), villains (for whom there are explanations, but never really excuses) and the great mess of humanity in between. The status quo is corrupt, the revolutionaries thuggish, and the incomers cannot help but destroy the very land that has drawn them. Every gra ...more
Tanuj Solanki
Knottily plotted. The story hurtles forward only when a special narrative device is used. Otherwise the omniscient narrator is almost always a marker of description and stasis. The novel feels uneven; there are sharp edges, there are mellow troughs. These qualities are somewhat soaked by our eponymous hero as well. His heroism, although meant to be vain, can also be just damp at times.

There are beautiful long sentences that make you go tsk-tsk regarding the state of all, even literary, writing
Dec 10, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: John King
Shelves: favorites

Nostromobegins with a legend. The story goes, among some of the people of Conrad’s republic of Costaguana, that two wandering sailors- “Americanos, perhaps, butgringosof some sort for certain”- persuade a local man to take them out across theGulfo Placidoto a desolate, inhospitable peninsula, where the locals believe there is gold. “The poor, associating by an obscure instinct of consolation the ideas of evil and wealth”, believe the peninsula to be cursed. On the second evening after the sailor
Sep 17, 2014 Tony rated it liked it
NOSTROMO. (1904). Joseph Conrad. ***.
I remember having to read this in college. Other than that, I don’t remember much more. I had already read “Lord Jim,” and “Heart of Darkness,” so I felt I had a grasp of Conrad’s writings. I was wrong. Since then, I’ve read many reviews of the book, and many of them stated that you had to get by the first fifty pages before the story began to open up. In my case, I found that it was more like seventy-five pages. The simple solution, of course, would have bee
Apr 08, 2009 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kris by: Ian Jingyo
I'm not going to finish this book. Maybe another time. I find Conrad's sentence structure to be clumsy and over-laden with descriptors. It's difficult to ascertain the meaning of one sentence even after reading it several times. I find myself asking over and and over again, "and why is this supposed to be a great author?" I've tried reading more lightly to see if I can pick up a thread, a plot, a story-line. The writing just doesn't seem coherent; it doesn't flow. It's choppy. If each page was a ...more
An almost perfect Novel. I can't think of but a handful of writers (Dostoevsky, Kafka, Melville) who have written a better book.
Justin Evans
Nov 06, 2009 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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, the ...more
Aaron Arnold
Jun 14, 2013 Aaron Arnold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2013
Another solid Conrad novel, which I liked just a bit more than The Secret Agent. I thought the book's main points about corruption - specifically, how wealth twists and perverts people - were very effectively conveyed by Conrad's decision to set the book in the fictional Latin American country of Costaguana. Latin America is notorious for its long history of unstable caudillo government caused in part by the exact type of resource extraction displayed here in Charles Gould's silver mine, around ...more
Ally Shand
Aug 06, 2015 Ally Shand rated it it was amazing
Right up there with the best books I've ever read. The last 100 pages or so passed by, consumed me even, like some kind of wonderfully written dream. Given Conrad's fascination with the illusory quality of life itself, perhaps it's no surprise that the book ended in this ethereal fashion.

There can't be many who have understood the human condition as well as Conrad did. The book takes patience and demands work, but given the time such writing deserves, the story will grip and dazzle you. It is a
Aug 09, 2015 Fiona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't know how to rate this book because it took me so long to like it but then I really liked it. But how do I judge a book that(for 2 month) made me fall asleep after 30 pages everytime I picked it up until I came to the last 150 (approx) pages which I read in less than 3 days?
I really liked the last part and especially the ending, but the story as a whole was a bit too boring and long and varied.
Darran Mclaughlin
This took me rather a long time to read because I seem to have less time to read than I used to. Many people see it as Conrad's magnum opus. I think I lean towards Lord Jim or the Secret Agent. This is a deep and wide ranging novel with several themes. I don't quite understand why it is called Nostromo, because the character of Nostromo doesn't dominate the novel in the way that the central character in an eponymous novel usually does. Nostromo in fact focusses on a number of core characters ove ...more
Roger Brunyate
May 23, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Wonderful Book to Have Read

The tense of my title is deliberate. Virginia Woolf described Nostromo as "a difficult book to read through." A Conrad biographer called it "a novel that one cannot read unless one has read it before." I take both these verdicts from the excellent introduction to the Barnes and Noble edition by Brent Hayes Edwards, and they come as some relief. I generally find that introductory essays give away too many plot points, and this is no exception. But having read a little
Oct 03, 2013 Ugh rated it really liked it
I'd wanted to read Nostromo for a few years, which was fortunate because I'm not sure I'd have been able to stick with it if I'd been less motivated to begin with.

The introduction to the edition I read, which should be left until after the novel itself, states that Nostromo is "notorious as the novel which cannot be read unless one has read it before" - the reason being the confusingly non-linear presentation of events. But it's not only the temporal jumps that make Nostromo hard to get into: th
Oct 04, 2010 Jeffery rated it it was amazing
I came to this book only after having seen the BBC multi-episode TV production of "Nostromo" back in the late '90's. I regret that viewing the film resulted in spoilers which dulled the impact of reading the book because the novelty of experiencing the unfolding plot was missing. Nevertheless, I found the book fascinating. If it is true that a movie cannot approach the depth of a book, and now having experienced the story in both forms I think the BBC production only scratched the surface of the ...more
Dec 02, 2010 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
In the relatively narrow genre of "Polish authors writing in English about Italian sailors in war-torn South America," this novel is probably the finest. It is challenging at first, as Conrad seems to be experimenting with a few complex narrative devices, which he uses to provide an introductory history of the setting and dramatis personae. He shifts into that style again later in the book, using what we would call in modern cinematic terms a montage to speed up time as the story jumps forward a ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Corto rated it it was amazing
I just finished this novel moments ago...and I'm just speechless. When I woke up this morning, I had roughly a hundred pages left...and without intending to or realizing what I was doing, I read utterly captivated, until I finished.

What a phenomenal novel.

It's a parable of revolution and the silver mine at its epicenter in a South American republic (circa early 1900's). As the story unfolds, it tells the tale of how the mine inspires, corrupts and motivates everyone in its immediate orbit, up th
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Joseph Conrad Fans: Nostromo 10 24 Sep 24, 2014 06:59PM  
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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 Br
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“There is no peace and no rest in the development of material interests. They have their law, and their justice. But it is founded on expediency, and is inhuman; it is without rectitude, without the continuity and the force that can be found only in a moral principle.” 15 likes
“I suppose everybody must be always just a little homesick.” 12 likes
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