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The Secret Sharer

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  2,150 ratings  ·  134 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 1st 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published 1910)
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Lyn
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.
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Richard
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
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Manny
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
Ginny_1807
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Victoria
May 23, 2013 Victoria rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Joseph Conrad, or people who want to read a Conrad work shorter than HoD
Shelves: classics, owned-books
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
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Guido
"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
Daniel
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
Melanti
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
Robert
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
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Kristen
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)
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Darwin8u
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
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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
Gabriel Spencer
Immediately I knew I was reading something by Joseph Conrad. A sudden fuzzy feeling in my brain. Words that didn't seem to connect. No comprehension of what I had just read.
Okay, I've got to focus now. Ah, yes, Joseph Conrad.
What a great story! I could feel the ship's boards beneath my feet, I could hear the first mate stepping about on deck, I could see the wetted sail taking full hold of the slight breeze, I could sense the tight quarters and the lack of privacy that the ship affords even the
...more
Lily
Feb 12, 2015 Lily rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lily by: BRPC f2f book group
I actually read this from a Great Books collection for a f2f reading group.

Ironically, the story reminded me of the cover article on this month's Harvard Business Review (Jan-Feb 2015):

"The Authenticity Paradox", Leadership Article, by Herminia Ibarra. "Why feeling like a fake can be a sign of growth."

The issues of new leadership don't go away.

Excellent reviews exist here on Goodreads for this novella -- read those. Consider the insights of both the positive and the negative ones.

Point of int
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Dan
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
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Suzy
I read this after "heart of darkness" and it is beginning to seem as though Conrad is obsessive over the idea of twins/ doppelgängers. Marlow sees Kurtz as an extension of what he himself could have succumbed to, had he stayed in the Congo any longer. Similarly, the young captain and Leggatt share a parallel connection. In fact, the young captain has begun to adopt the violent and cunning tendencies of Leggatt, driving him to become rather paranoid, in fact, becoming nearly insane, and driven to ...more
Salvatore
A tale of doubling that showcases when you're hiding a secret you can become terrible and bitter. Typical Conrad: a young captain gets control of a ship, a ship who's crew doesn't seem to like him. He's the new guy in town, only on the ship for two weeks, whereas the crew has worked together for years. Giving the men an early night off, the captain sees that they forgot to bring up the ladder. About to pull it up, who should be on said latter but Leggatt, a man from the other ship nearby, who is ...more
Jonathan
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
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.
Kate
In High School I had to read The Heart of Darkness, but somehow missed reading the Secret Sharer. I'll admit that I skimmed the Heart of Darkness in my AP Lit class, not so much out of dislike for Conrad's constant symbolism and allegorical interactions, but more out of absolute analytical exhaustion after not only reading the story but all the stories within that story. So when I picked up The Secret Sharer I was worried I would find myself similarly tired. I was pleasantly surprised to find th ...more
Yngvild
Joseph Conrad apparently wrote The Sharer as a light break from a heavier novel and that is exactly how it reads. For Conrad, the writing is taut and the story ends on an up-beat note. Astoundingly, it even has its humorous moments as the young captain deals with the strange situation he finds himself in by behaviour that the crew obviously consider proof that he has gone off his head.

It did occur to me that one of the reasons I like sea yarns is the same reason I like science fiction; the chara
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Barb
Unless you're a student of turn-of-the-century British literature and/or of Joseph Conrad, there is absolutely no reason to read this book. "The Secret Sharer" is actually a short story about a newly-appointed captain on a British merchant ship who harbors (no pun intended) a supposed fugitive from a different ship. This edition includes a basic introduction to literary criticism, including a short biography of Joseph Conrad and a bit of history that allows the reader to place the story in histo ...more
Sparrow
This is a mighty story -- why don't more people read it? It's actually about a secret sharer! From my extensive research, on Wikipedia, I learned that it was originally entitled "The Secret-Sharer", when published in Harper's Magazine in 1903 -- or whatever exact year. (I seem to be drawn repeatedly to that turn-of-the century literary showcase, lately. Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, Andre Gide, Edmund Gosse. Mostly English, mostly men. Not seafaring Poles like Joseph.) Anyway, he ...more
Tony
Conrad, Joseph. THE SECRET SHARER. (1912). ****. This is a Folio Society edition of Conrad’s two volumes of short stories: “’Twixt Land and Sea, (1912),” and “Tales of Hearsay, (1925).” The first set – the more famous of the two – contains the short stories “A Smile of Fortune,” The Secret Sharer,” and “Freya of the Seven Isles.” The second collection contains “The Warrior’s Soul,” Prince Roman,” “The Tale,” and “The Black Mate.” They are all excellent stories, although the two best known, “The ...more
Eleclyah

Un breve romanzo, quasi un racconto, che sin dalla prima riga lascia la sensazione di essere avvinti a fondo nella storia, per quanto fioca sia la trama.
Non è infatti la trama la colonna portante del romanzo, quanto invece lo sono l’attesa, il rischio corso dal giovane capitano della nave traendo a bordo del suo primo imbarco un uomo sconosciuto e ricercato, il silenzioso ed intenso rapporto che egli instaura con questo “compagno segreto”, il pericolo, la sensazione di correre incontro alla mort
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Philip
I had heard good things about Joseph Conrad, so a while ago a decided to get one of his books to read and arbitrarily picked this one. The story starts with a few paragraphs of dense expository description-type prose. Just based on that first bit, I was worried that this was going to be something unfun that I wouldn't really get into and would just stumble through for the sake of finishing, like Ulysses by Joyce (except that I gave up on that one).

Well, luckily, I was wrong. Once the story got u
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Maya
The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad is 64 paged long young adult book. Set in the Gulf of Siam, the narrator is the Captain of the ship who is unfamiliar with both his new crew and ship. Unsure of his new surroundings the Captain enters a dilemma of whether he can fulfill his role as the authority of the boat, the captain. Cruising on the Gulf of Siam, the captain finds a naked swimmer on the side of the ship, on the ladder. He becomes acquainted with this young gentlemen and finds out that he sw ...more
Henrietta Fudakowski
Joseph Conrad is not a particularly easy author to read. He wrote in his third language English, but you can still feel the traces of his native Polish and his first learnt language French. So the sentences are dense, but they are also rich. If however you want somewhere to start reading Joseph Conrad's works Secret Sharer is a good place to start. Hearth of Darkness is better known, and is the basis for the film Apocalypse Now.

Secret Sharer was first published a century ago, but the issues tha
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Riccardo
Anche in questa avvincente storia di mare troviamo come protagonista un giovane Comandante alle prese col proprio "Primo comando".
Il nostro giovane Comandante è un estraneo su quella nave, o almeno tale si sente in mezzo all'equipaggio che sulla nave ci hanno lavorato e vissuto molto più a lungo di lui.
Quella che dovrebbe essere la "sua" nave egli non la conosce, non sa come debba essere governata al meglio e anche con l'equipaggio, a partire dal suo secondo con delle "terribili fedine", non ha
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Maharet
Questo è il mio primo incontro con Joseph Conrad, scrittore che mi ha sempre incuriosito, ma di cui non avevo mai letto nulla finora: direi che questa conoscenza è iniziata davvero bene.
“Il compagno segreto” è davvero un racconto d'alto livello: narrazione serrata, prosa meravigliosa, trama misteriosa, inquietante e tesa.
L'ambientazione marittima del libro dona al racconto un'atmosfera claustrofobica che si sposa benissimo con la trama inquietante e misteriosa che si dipana in queste pagine: anc
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Catching up on Cl...: The Secret Sharer Discussion SPOILERS 1 29 Aug 26, 2011 09:34AM  
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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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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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“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.”
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“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.” 0 likes
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