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The Secret Sharer

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  3,025 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
The Secret Sharer, actual accident at sea, is an exciting adventure tale that reveals truths about human nature on several levels. Albert J. Guerard of Stanford University wrote that these two stories are "among the finest of Conrad's short novels, and among the half-dozen greatest short novels in the English language." And Virginia Woolf wrote of Conrad, "His books are fu ...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published July 30th 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published 1910)
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Mar 07, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad is a short story / novella of less than 100 pages, yet in it Conrad demonstrates as many great writers do, the simple, elegant power of the short work. Here the writer can succinctly deliver a forceful message in economic fashion.

The Secret Sharer is like many of his works (most?) about the seas and a man’s command of a vessel. Also like many of his works, the setting is in the South Seas and we find our narrator taking his first command near the Gulf of Siam.
Jul 31, 2012 Manny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time favorite authors is Joseph Conrad. His exploration of the human condition as reflected by the men who toil at sea is as profound as any philosophical dissertation by any name philosopher. His theme is man against nature or man against men, His yarns are full of events both in the inner and outer worlds of journeyers at sea or water. "The Heart of Darkness" of course is essential to his success and esteem as an author/adventurer. But he has many other tales that I've read and a ...more
Mar 26, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Late update appended.

(I actually read this novelette in a combined edition with Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but thought I'd switch to this edition for a full review.)

The Secret Sharer is a peculiar story. It is quick -- the whole thing is only a few dozen pages long, and can be read in something like an hour. And it is certainly not complex: the plot is very basic.

Conrad's prose is a pleasure to read, as always. Despite the fact that it was written towards the end of the Edwardian period, an odd
May 21, 2013 Victoria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Joseph Conrad, or people who want to read a Conrad work shorter than HoD
Shelves: owned-books, classics
My eyes caress the delicate words strewn across the page, tasting the sweet nectar and experiencing the literary pleasure only a skilful painter of words can bring, the existence of the words intertwining with the essence of my being, stroking my heart and stoking the fire of my mind...

Uhmmmm... bleh. I'm sorry you read that. :/

Now that I've gotten my rather sorry attempt at being the next Joseph Conrad out of my system, I'll keep going with this review. ;)

The Secret Sharer is the second Joseph
Imene Tl
A nice quick read yet I wished the plot was a bit more complex. It's my first Joseph Conrad read and definitely not the last for I very much enjoyed his writing style.
Jul 07, 2012 Ginny_1807 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 27, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
How do British and American writers avoid being overwhelmed with feelings of envy and shame when reading Joseph Conrad? He was, after all, one of the English language's greatest prose stylists, and it wasn't his first or even second language. (Polish came first and French second for the novelist born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski.) "The Secret Sharer," given its brevity, would be a fine introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Conrad. It's also more approachable than "Heart of Darkness," which ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second reading--Conrad' s tale of a novice sea captain viewed with uncertainty by his crew who, alone on-deck one night, discovers a naked "man from the sea" clinging to his boat. The man, Leggat, is a killer, but the narrator, unnamed, keeps him as a stowaway out of an instinctual affection for Leggat, and the knowledge that he is capable of the same crime. The choice to name one but not the other is significant, as the two take on a sometimes overly obvious dual role, with Leggat (named, hence ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad is often a companion piece to other Conrad tales, usually Heart of Darkness, and so the years have passed and I never read this story until tonight because the headline story always caught my attention.

The Secret Sharer is a story, not a novella, though it’s a long one, and it’s a perfect example of Conrad using the setting of the southeast Asian seas as a kind of metaphysical symbol for the totality of existence. He depicts beauty, tranquility, boredom, discip
"Il compagno segreto", ovvero la tensione tra la propria personalità pubblica e il suo lato nascosto; tra la libertà quasi anarchica del fuorilegge, unico giudice delle proprie azioni, e l'uomo civile, perfettamente inserito in una società di leggi giuste e incorruttibili. Il capitano è al suo primo comando: un estraneo sulla sua stessa nave, che ancora non conosce. I suoi sforzi per custodire il suo "doppio" segreto rivelano in modo inequivocabile la diffidenza e l'ostilità dell'equipaggio vers ...more
Oct 06, 2012 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
2013 has definitely been my year of doppelgänger books. 'The Secret Sharer' belongs on the shelf next to Doestoevsky's 'the Double', Nabokov's 'Despair', Highsmith's 'The Talented Mr. Ripley', and Roth's 'Operation Shylock' and probably 'the Epic of Gilgamesh' too.

These are all great doppelgänger books, and Conrad's 'Secret Sharer' is not inferior to any of them. Conrad constantly delivers on the nuance of his language, his thought, and his absolute control of the English language.

Conrad's lit
Lauren Hawkins
I enjoyed the writing style, but the ship technicalities made it hard for me to get through. The plot was very slow until the last two pages.

(3-1/2 Stars)
Tracy Reilly
Aug 21, 2015 Tracy Reilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doppelgängers gone mad with intuition.
David Martinez
Jan 16, 2017 David Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you like some books about adventures and mysteries? Well this book might be the book for you. In my opinion this book was a really enjoyable to read and I hope you do so to.
This book is about some people that needed to go to deliver some coal to some type of island. but on their way there something was wrong with the boat. They had crashed into this large rock that had damaged the ship so it was unable to move. Luckily they had a tugboat and some people went on the tugboat to send some help
Jun 11, 2014 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conrad's unusual style very much lends itself to this sort of mysterious tale where we aren't sure if we inhabit a world of ghosts or our own. At times I kept thinking to myself Poe would have recognized this story since so much of the tension is happening in the captain's mind.

Unlike a lot of Conrad, however, The Secret Sharer is not trying to be obtuse in how it handles its theme - identity in this case (though that's always Conrad's theme). Nostromo, Heart of Darkness, and especially Lord Jim
I had forgotten just how beautiful Conrad's writing is. His descriptions are perfect (coming from someone who hates reading description); he is so good at setting the dark mood of which he seems to be so fond.

The Secret Sharer is a short story and is as such distinctly lacking in plot. It can, perhaps, be summed up in a single sentence: the narrator, new captain of a ship in the Gulf of Siam, takes aboard a fugitive named Leggatt(view spoiler)
This short, 35 page short story took me 2 1/2 hours to read. Not because it was dense, but because for every minute I read, I spent at least 5 minutes staring off into space... And while I admit the scenery was lovely (lake, the rainbow in the fountain, the tiny dog that wouldn't have known what to do with that duck if he'd managed to catch it, etc) I see that scenery all the time, and had no trouble concentrating on either of the books I read earlier in the afternoon. If staring off into space ...more
Abe Something
I didn't think much if after I had read it. I was ambivalent at best. Until I began to recount it to a co-worker who asked what it had been about... I started at the beginning mentioned a few introductory details, the next thing I knew I pushing through the plot points and racing toward the conclusion - as I was talking I was becoming more and more excited, I was exuberantly recalling the final moments of the text where every thread came together in a white knuckled finale that was as unexpected ...more
A short story from Conrad's 'Twixt Land and Sea published as a Penguin 60s Classic.

An amusing and well constructed short story about a sea captain, new to his vessel, who takes on board in the dead of night a man from a ship anchored nearby.

Keeping the man's presence a secret from the crew leaves the captain looking eccentric and somewhat foolish.

Not much more to say without spoiling the story. An enjoyable short read. 4 Stars.
Killer language. Great storytelling. Could be mistaken for Kafka with some of those descriptions concerning man's consciousness with regards to his surroundings. My second Conrad and I plan to keep going.
Mark Goodwin
Oct 18, 2014 Mark Goodwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only my second book read of Conrad but again, I found it interesting. This was not as difficlt a read as Heart of Darkness and well worth the time.
Nov 03, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's very interesting how one can so intimately relate to someone who is an absolute stranger - Conrad captures this so unbelievably well, to the point of the narrator's potential self-destruction. The man is entirely willing to sacrifice his livelihood, his career, the opinion of his men, and even the ship of which he is captain... for the sake of a complete stranger.

But it's also a selfish act. As much as the narrator believes this stranger to be a mirror of his own self, as much as he feels s
A quick read, the narration on Audible took one hour and forty minutes. The narrator, Cathy Dobson, was not to my taste, being overtly dramatic. The story itself is intense and psychologically interesting, as the captain on his new ship secretly harbors a criminal aboard. A lot to think about in this short work, it has piqued my interest and I look forward to reading "Heart of Darkness" also by Joseph Conrad.
This story took a little while to get going (an impressive feat, given how short it is). But once it did pick up, the tension held and carried the tale well. I would have liked the story more if Conrad had not belabored the idea of the captain and the stowaway being "doubles of each other" so much.
Anthony James
Some decisions are difficult and you need to break the rules, but is the man even real or a projection of some psychological trait?
glenn d. shean
Jan 10, 2017 glenn d. shean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good short read if you love the sea.

Worthwhile Conrad is a master. And he obviously knows what it means to be a mariner..Read it and enjoy before bed.
Mar 17, 2017 Wyvern rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
That...was just a little gay.
Jan 05, 2017 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-english
I liked this Conrad!
Shayna Ross
Oct 04, 2016 Shayna Ross rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
The plot of this book, although that is not really the point, is a novice sea captain is out with his unfamiliar crew in the Gulf of Siam. One night, while walking the deck alone, he finds a naked gentleman clinging to the ladder on the side of the ship. The man, Leggat, escaped from his own ship after murdering someone and is currently on the run. Our unnamed captain decides to hide this individual, who he refers to as his other half frequently, until he is able to allow him to swim to land els ...more
Dec 25, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I think I stumbled on this in college, when I was struggling with some identity issues. I think it may have been a two-fer with Heart of Darkness that I was required to read for an English class, and, one day, I just started reading The Secret Sharer since it was there. Pretty sure I read it in one session and stayed up all night to finish. The suprising intimacy of the stumbled-upon relationship totally captured my attention. I couldn't put it down.
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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 about Joseph Conrad...

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“Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention, but fear too, is not barren of ingenious suggestions."

"Nice little saloon, isn't it" I said, as if noticing it for the first time.

"At noon I gave no orders for change of course, and the mates whiskers grew much concerned and seemed to be offering themselves to my unduly notice.”
“I wondered how far I should turn out faithful to that ideal conception of one's own personality every man sets up for himself secretly.” 1 likes
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