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The Arrow of Gold: A Story Between Two Notes

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Reflecting Conrad's genius for narrative that focuses on the quest for inner truths, "The Arrow of Gold" is an exploration of the dangerous appetites of men and of human vulnerability, as well as a profound meditation on the emotional boundary between people. Boasting a cast of extraordinary and eccentric personalities, including the heroine Dona Rita, this is a story of a ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published March 29th 2004 by Pine Street Books (first published 1919)
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Keeko
When I read Conrad, I feel like I'm in his world. He's truly a writer, and he has such heart. His native language is Polish, and I don't know enough to know why he chose to write in English, but I feel lucky that he did. Hunter Thompson said that he learned to write by typing the pages from Conrad's books on his typewriter. And, for me, that pretty much says it all.

Jules Hernandez
Sep 28, 2008 Jules Hernandez rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: selected few
Recommended to Jules by: no one
This may sound weird, but the story itself I found to be a slow read at times, however the author is almost like a painter of words. He has such a unique and special gift of being able to put you into a scene with his descriptive words! I really have never read a book that kept my attention solely by the use of the english language but I loved the way he was able to describe people or scenery! Very interesting as this book was written in the 1900's to see the differences of the use of the englis ...more
Tony
THE ARROW OF GOLD. (1919). Joseph Conrad. **.
If you are new to Conrad’s works, I would recommend that you not start with this novel. It is one of his last books, and differs from most all of his earlier ones in that there is very little forward movement in the plot. Basically, it is set in the 1870s, and involves a plot to unseat the Bourbon Alfonso and replace him with Don Carlos. It is set in Marseilles and other locations on the Mediterranean, and features just a few principal characters. The
...more
Lucy
The experience of reading a Conrad novel is the same every time. You start it, think it's going to be so turgid, get muddled with the characters, wonder if there's going to be a plot, and suddenly you find you're totally hooked,and desperately involved, knowing it's going to end badly but hoping it won't. Or as he puts it,
"It is the subtleties of personalities, and contacts, and events, that count for interest and memory."
There is something from every Conrad I have read that has stayed with me,
...more
Grady Ormsby
Aug 06, 2015 Grady Ormsby rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
I’ve read four novels by Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Almayer’s Folly and The Secret Agent). My fifth, The Arrow of Gold, is surprisingly different. The other four are action-driven, full of excitement and intrigue, with revolutions, high sea adventures, colonial enterprises and suspenseful and mysterious spies. The Arrow of Gold is a love story with the focus on characterization. Set in Marseille in the 1870s during the Third Carlist War the story is a love triangle which compris ...more
Sam Reaves
I love Conrad and have read most of his major novels, but I never got around to this one until now. It's considered one of his lesser works, and now I know why. It's supposedly a romantic tale of adventure, but there's an awful lot of sitting around talking, eloquently and at great length, about feelings and perceptions. Conrad wrote that his task was "...before all, to make you see." Somehow he lost sight of that in this one.
James
It's hard not to give a Conrad novel 5 stars; he's my favourite author. Arrow of Gold loses a star for me because I found I was getting bogged down in the intricacies of the relationship between Monsieur George and Dona Rita. Sometimes the emotions of love is a difficult thing to explain, and the feelings of both characters must be taken into account.
Set against the background of the third Carlist war, our man 'Monsieur George'(Joseph Conrad; this is based on a true story) is a sea-faring advent
...more
Bill Johnston

If there are Conrad novels I haven't read, there can't be many of them, and this falls at the bottom of the ones I have read.

Conrad attempts a novel of form rather than substance, as he says himself in the introduction, and is quite pleased to give it the subtitle 'A Story Between Two Notes.' As a frame, the two notes fail for being mutually incompatible in style and purpose. He can't even make up his mind whether he wants the second to be a "what happened to them after the end of the novel" or
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Jim Leckband
Suppose you wanted to write a novel about your experience falling in love with a woman adored by everyone for her strange beauty and charm, but older and more experienced than you. Also, suppose you were Joseph Conrad. Then the novel would not just be a romance novel, but also about a political intrigue where the main character is a world-weary gunrunner in love with a femme-fatale escaped from Paris who is at the very center of the intrigue. And has a piano player friend named Sam! Ooops, sorry ...more
Gareth Wiles
There are some superb lines in this book, typical Conrad stuff, and his attempt at less of a plot and more a vast lump of feelings was enjoyable. However, people often moan how confusing my books can be - try reading this, especially the first part!
Rose
Aug 27, 2011 Rose rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who enjoy studying human nature
I enjoyed this book. It's more a picture than a real story, the portrait of a woman who captured the heart of the writer (written in the first person) and his own reactions to that capture. A little on the fatalistic side but interesting in its portrayal of the time and place.

Most of the characters are warm and vivid; Madame Léonore was my favorite although she has a small role. He brings very realistic, very human traits to his stage while at the same time holding them up to be admirable and in
...more
Paul
Certainly, not Conrad's best work. If you haven't read Conrad before, don't start with this book. I thought the setting descriptions and the characters were well written and really give you a sense of actually being a direct witness to the events. I found the end to be disappointing. In his other novels, he gives you excellent character descriptions and builds a really dramatic story around it. This novel lacked that dramatic style that I expected. I recommend Victory, The Rescue, and Heat of Da ...more
Jan
I never thought I would say this about a Conrad novel, but this one's an overwrought drawing-room romance. There's still some amazing writing in it, but there's not much story. It reads like a first novel, which is weird, because it's supposedly one of his later ones. My guess is he dug out an old manuscript that he hadn't been able to sell until he got really famous for all the good novels he wrote. Unless you're a die-hard Conrad fan like me, read one of those instead.
Bob
The Arrow of Gold [1919]. I'm almost sure this book is very out of print. It was Conrad's try at War time pulp fiction. His publisher probably pushed him into writing it. This story has the classic subtle Conrad Punch line and some people hate him for that! It's actually an interesting story and probably way before it's time! Not one of my favorite Conrad's though!
You can read "The Arrow of Gold: online: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/conra...
Matthew
A different and interesting 'love story'. The story pulled me into the late 1800's, the time of the Carlist war. Although there is some action and the hero matures through the events, the work is really a sketch of a semi-mysterious lady and her relationship with the hero that develops and becomes recognized as love.
Mark Stephenson
A semi-autobiographical account of a sailor in his twenties falling in love; written from the heart and prompting me to read Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther. Actually I found Goethe to be even more moving because of Charlotte's involvement with her younger siblings which made her seem head and shoulders above Madame Lastaola.
Tom
I found this to be an 'odd' story. I did like the set up and the ending, but the middle seemed muddled - but that was the protagonist's life.
Kristina  UK
I didn't enjoy this one as much as Heart of Darkness and don't really recommend it as it was hard work to read.
Maciek
I thoroughly enjoyed "Heart of Darkness"; however I wasn't able to finish this one.
Kit
A little too long for the admittedly terrific ending.

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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
...more
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“I felt suddenly that 'this sort of thing' would kill me. The definition of the cause was vague, but the thought itself was no mere morbid artificiality of sentiment but a genuine conviction. 'That sort of thing' was what I would have to die from. It wouldn't be from the innumerable doubts. Any sort of certitude would be also deadly. It wouldn't be from a stab—a kiss would kill me as surely. It would not be from a frown or from any particular word or any particular act—but from having to bear them all, together and in succession—from having to live with 'that sort of thing.' About the time I finished with my neck-tie I had done with life too.” 2 likes
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