Dave/Maggie Bean's Reviews > The Secret Agent

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
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's review
Jul 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: british-and-irish-lit

Conrad’s one of my favorite authors, and has been for a very long time. Whatever his detractors may say of him, his insight into human nature was almost frighteningly keen. This multi-layered novel examines opportunism, corruption, sh*t-stirring, fear mongering, nihilism, and the impotent desperation of the habitual malcontent. Especially relevant in the “post 9/11 world.”

One of Conrad’s bleakest, most claustrophobic novels (although Under Western Eyes certainly comes close), The Secret Agent is a merciless, chilling study of losers, lunatics, opportunists, and misanthropes. Based on the attempted bombing of the Greenwich Observatory over a decade before Conrad began it in 1907, TSA is a gritty, grimy, sleazy study of gritty, grimy, sleazy characters – the kind who "create [their] own reality." For all that it was written in 1907, Marinnus van der Lubbe and other "false flag" terrorists lurk within its pages -- as does Karl Rove (minus the overpriced suit). Well worth reading.
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