Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Victory” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Joseph Conrad
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition


3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,061 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
Heyst was not conscious of either friends or of enemies. It was the very essence of his life to be a solitary achievement, accomplished not by hermit-like withdrawal with its silence and immobility, but by a system of restless wandering, by the detachment of an impermanent dweller amongst changing scenes.
Audio Cassette, Abridged
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1915)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Victory, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Victory

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Henry Avila
Dec 10, 2014 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Axel Heyst, the "Swede," is running away, but since it is himself he wants to escape from, that is clearly an unattainable goal. Growing up with his crank of a father, a widower, in London Town, the elder Heyst, writes little books of his unpopular philosophy , making a small profit, from the few, who like them, and just gets by ... Having fled his native land, they didn't understand the Baron's unusual ideas ( not sure if he deserved that title), as nowhere else does, either. He despises the wo ...more
Mar 29, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victory by Joseph Conrad is a dark, psychological thriller. Like all of Conrad’s work, his mastery of the English language is immediately evident and he uses descriptive language of which D.H. Lawrence would be envious, especially when describing the villains. Victory is also reminiscent of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and in turn may have influenced Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

Conrad created two of the most devilish, animalistic and brutish villains that ever plagued a story and a
Jan 05, 2009 Zinta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now and then, we must leave the literature of our day and delve deeper--in time and in literary style. Joseph Conrad has survived time as a classic, because his work is of classic quality. I submerged into Victory as into cool, deep water, to emerge refreshed and moved by the literary experience.
Woe, yes, to the man whose heart has not learned to hope or love (and is love without hope possible?) or trust in life. Without hope, without love, without trust, life is but a living death. Axel Heyst,
Jan Szczerbiuk
Sep 30, 2014 Jan Szczerbiuk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read pretty much everything Conrad wrote back in the 80's but having booked a holiday in Indonesia I had to take one of his far-eastern novels. Great to read about the "dead-calm Java Sea" while looking out over the dead-calm Java Sea. Anyway,
1. No-one writes better than Conrad in English. Some are as good (but different - Pynchon, Dickens, even Updike) but no-one is better.
2. Only those that haven't read him associate him with adventure books for boys. What he is really about is the psycholog
Mar 07, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
The world premiere of Harold Pinter's screenplay of Josef Conrad's last major novel, in a special adaptation for radio by Sir Richard Eyre.

It's 1900 in the Dutch East Indies. Disenchanted with life and humanity, Heyst, a mysterious Swedish Baron, lives alone on a deserted island.

He believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others, but his life is altered when he visits the neighbouring island for a doctor's check up. Here he meets and falls in love with
Jeremy Allan
Strange to read a classic, be caught up in its story, only to find myself surfacing two thirds through and realizing that the thing is flawed. Heavy-handed Christian allegory, bizarre and artificial conceptions of gender (even for the time), unresolved narrative gaps—Victory is a book that wants to be beautiful, but stumbles too much in being meaningful. Yes, this isn't out of character for contemporary works (or even some unfortunate books of our moment), but the further the narrative carries, ...more
Dec 26, 2015 Carolinemawer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conrad is pretty damn near the the top of his game in this book!
Which since he's such an exceptional writing genius means that a good time can be had by anyone who's reading - though I don't think it's a spoiler to say that (almost) all of the book's participants come to a bad end.
Unsurprisingly, the colonial content is ... well ... very colonial. Though the smartest, straightest character is Chinese. And the most evil is European.
The women here are clever (either emotionally, or practically) -
Apr 27, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know anything about this book when I started it other than 2 facts: it was written by the author of The Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, and it was on the Guardian's list of 1000 novels everyone should read.

After I started, I quickly found myself engaged in this somewhat odd story about a very odd man, Heyst. A little farther into the story, I went back to find in which category the Guardian's list had placed this book & was surprised to find it was in the "Love" category rather t
Mike Robinson
I will in all likelihood remember "Victory" as one of the more inconsistent reads I've ever encountered, not in terms of tone, style or plot but in terms of my fluctuating interest in the tale Conrad spun and what he wanted to say with it. Often I felt myself pushed away by a lumbering pace and wooden caricatures to the outer ionosphere of reader absorption, nearing a point where the thin gravity of my interest in its grander themes was the only thing keeping me from snapping off into orbit and ...more
Patrick McCoy
Feb 01, 2012 Patrick McCoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
One of my favorite writers is Graham Greene and one if his favorite writers is Joseph Conrad-thus I feel he deserves my attention for that reason alone. But Conrad casts a much larger shadow than that. I read Heart of Darkness in high school and was impressed by the artistry of the story as much as the film it later inspired. I felt the need to read more Conrad in my post-college days and read Lord Jim and in recent years and The Secret Agent since it was referenced heavily in the post 9/11 days ...more
Jan 17, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conrad fans
I enjoyed this novel from the pen of Joseph Conrad - it may be my favorite of his works although Conrad has the knack for writing consistently good novels that makes it hard to rank them. Victory's most striking formal characteristic is its shifting narrative and temporal perspective with the first section from the viewpoint of a sailor, the second from omniscient perspective of Axel Heyst, the third from an interior perspective from Heyst, and the final section. I found the character of Axel in ...more
Kenneth Iltz
Jul 25, 2015 Kenneth Iltz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
The book was first published in 1915. Axel Heyst ends up living on an island in what is now Indonesia, with a Chinese assistant Wang. Heyst visits a nearby island when a female band is playing at a hotel owned by Mr. Schomberg. Schomberg attempts to force himself sexually on one of the band members, Alma, later called Lena. She flees with Heyst back to his island and they become lovers. Schomberg seeks revenge by attempting to frame Heyst for the "murder" of a man who had died of natural causes ...more
Jim Leckband
Aug 30, 2012 Jim Leckband rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conrad really nailed it with this one. In the preface he writes that he wrote it as a single piece - not as a serial published in periodicals - and it shows. The narrative hijinks that he deployed in his earlier novels has been tamed. This makes this novel succeed as a thriller.

But like the books of John le Carré, another author I'm reading the complete works of, "Victory" is a thriller with benefits. These benefits are astounding characters, unmatched psychological depth and the best writing fr
Oct 28, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction
A pretty amazing climax is the high point of this Conrad novel, which explores love and identity on a remote island.
There's a lot to dislike about this book -- the blatant racism (often a challenge with Conrad) is pretty ridiculous, with it the most over-the-top with the Chinese character repeatedly described as "inscrutable" but also evident in the absence of humanity or complexity in any of Conrad's other non-white characters. It's incredibly frustrating -- Conrad's white characters are compl
W.L. Wren
Oct 20, 2013 W.L. Wren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is interesting about Conrad is that he is a writer with one foot in the Victorian age (as in the manner of his storytelling) and one in the modern age (as in his characters and themes). The book’s sensibility is reflective of this disconcerting dualism.

For me, the main theme that emerges is that of detachment and isolationism and their consequences. For various reasons, Heyst removes himself from the world, wanting no part of it. But the world will not be ignored and eventually comes to fin
Aug 27, 2009 globulon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, fiction
Like Nostromo, the pacing of this is slowish in the first half and picks up in the second half. Unlike Nostromo there is much less back-story in this novel. While the father of the main character is discussed and is important although dead, most of the rest of the characters have a history only within the scope of the story.

One thing that came to me strongly was an echoing of "The Tempest". Particularly the characters Pedro and Wang seemed to be sort of inverted images of Calaban and Ariel.

May 11, 2011 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction
This book is all right if you're familiar with Joseph Conrad's style of writing and his richly-described literary texture. I mean we can learn new unfamiliar words there since it has been influenced by the Victorian literature and culture. Therefore, I found it tough, tedious and dizzy while reading Parts I-III. However, reading Part IV was better, more enjoyable, still mysterious but tragically-ended.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jun 24, 2012 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2012-reads
Victory. From life, from pain, from heartache... Conrad's Victory is a bit thought provoking according to how you really view after contemplating its plot. As usual, the varying sea voyage adventure depictions are quite vivid based on his own sea experiences.
In this tale Conrad introduces us to Heyst and expounds on this rather unique fellow... the adventure is quite a page-turner also!
Oct 31, 2009 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the later Conrad and likely the best. There was an HBO movie made of it with Willem Defoe as Heyst, but it was only o.k.. The first place I went in Warsaw was to Conrad's former residence (as a child) on Novy Swiat.
Oct 03, 2014 Kallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A long time has passed since I read 'Victory,' for the second time. I remember, from the very first read, how impressive Conrad made Lena -- a woman who is on her own with few resources and no protectors when Heyst meets her. From the beginning, the two support each other in a way ordinary life doesn't require of most people. They are not only loyal, they are physically and emotionally brave. This made quite an impression on me as a youngster, and still does though I recognize the romanticizing ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The more Conrad I read, the more I love Conrad. Victory is a not just your standard story about good v. evil, innocence and savagery. It is about being an actor in life and love and not just an observer. It is beautiful, sad and powerful.

Non è stato facile addentrarsi in questo libro.
Conrad ha una scrittura a cui non ero abituata, non avendo mai letto nessun'altra sua opera in inglese, e l'approccio è stato difficoltoso; ma, più di tutto, ogni volta che iniziavo rimanevo come ipnotizzata dalla prima pagina, da quell'incipit così... beh, stranamente ammaliante.

La storia si dipana lentamente agli occhi del lettore, dapprima narrata tramite un noi collettivo non specificato che a volte diventa un io e che non esprime alcun giudizio
Aug 15, 2012 Franz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece, in spite of its rather untidy ending. The first part is told calmly by an anonymous sailor, who seems to remember things as his story unfolds. He will interrupt the recollection of the main events to reflect upon Heyst's (the hero) character, then resume it but not quite at the point where he had left it, and not quite even from the very same perspective. He has lived in that part of the world (around the Java sea) for many years, and so has Heyst. It is a very unique landscape, a ...more
Jul 17, 2008 Tahseen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He had listened. Then, after a silence, he had asked--for he was really young then:

"Is there no guidance?"

His father was in an unexpectedly soft mood on that night, when the moon swam in a cloudless sky over the begrimed shadows of the town.

"You still believe in something, then?" he said in a clear voice, which had been growing feeble of late. "You believe in flesh and blood, perhaps? A full and equable contempt would soon do away with that, too. But since you have not attained to it, I advise y
May 01, 2010 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Audio book version. George Guidall narrating.

I really wanted to like this more, but I felt that it dropped off in the final third of the book and I found the ending to be somewhat predictable, and beyond that predictability the dénouement felt slapdash and was unsatisfying.

Despite those criticisms the book is a worthwhile read and has many interesting moments and aspects to recommend it. The trio of antagonists are engaging and reminiscent of some of Cormac McCarthy's characters, at least to my
Dec 05, 2015 Salvatore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling - if not over the top on characters' motives. A story of Eden attacked, of definitions of 'gentlemen' and 'civilization', of racism's effects on the psyche. Interesting comparison to Woolf's The Voyage Out, both published in 1915 and both dealing with things gone wrong when leaving a tropical hotel filled with outsiders.
Apr 02, 2016 Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devo uma crítica a este livro. Estava na minha lista de livros a ler há quase um ano, comecei a lê-lo por empréstimo e terminei-o já depois de o comprar. Conrad é um mestre da caracterização psicológica dos seus personagens e isso está bem à mostra nesta história sobre o confronto da ética pessoal com o mundo, as suas tentações e perigos. Para mim, habitante do hemisfério norte, os trópicos aparecem sempre como um cenário inesperado para tão minucioso trabalho descritivo sobre moralidade e decên ...more
Sep 10, 2007 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not find an image of the copy of this book that I am reading, which has the grooviest minimalist 1920's cover illustration (by Edward Gorey). I love the covers of those early paperbacks,and honestly, can not separate the literary contents of the book from the musty brilliance(and aroma)of those old editions.
This book has great characters, exotic atmosphere and a fantastic plot. Woven into this are philosophical themes expressed with great restraint. It reminds me a bit of the books of
What a strange novel! It began so incongruously, so slow and plodding. I didn't know where it would go. I had nothing to tie me to it. I didn't care about the characters - their tale was being told by a strange narrator, separately.

And then the characters met - and suddenly the narrator vanished, and the novel really began for me. Halfway through!

It became exciting and a mystery to solve! What were the motives? Who's lying to who? Who should he trust? Who should she follow? I really, really love
Mar 16, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the end, I liked this novel. Conrad can be so difficult to penetrate that joy is lost in the strain of comprehension, but this novel is far less dense than many of his earlier works. I can see why this was a commercial success as well as a critical one. I am using Victory for the second chapter of my dissertation so I am sure that I will come to know it fairly extensively over the next few months. If you are already a fan of Conrad, give this lesser known work a try. If you are not already a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Joseph Conrad 2 16 Jan 03, 2013 10:29PM  
Does anyone have one copy to sell? 2 8 Jul 27, 2011 01:10PM  
  • South Wind
  • The Best American Humorous Short Stories
  • Life of Jesus
  • Love For Lydia
  • Maurice Guest
  • The Echoing Grove
  • An Outline of Abnormal Psychology
  • Within A Budding Grove, Part 1
  • The Egoist
  • Look at Me
  • The Tragic Muse
  • Green Mansions
  • The Complete Poems of Keats and Shelley
  • The Silent Duchess
  • More Die of Heartbreak
  • The Parasites
  • The Revolt of the Angels
  • From The Fifteenth District
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
More about Joseph Conrad...

Share This Book

“Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put it's trust in life!” 8 likes
“She was engaged in the task of defending her position in life," said Heyst. "It's a very respectable task.” 6 likes
More quotes…