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Nostromo

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  15,592 ratings  ·  669 reviews
A gripping tale of capitalist exploitation and rebellion, set amid the mist-shrouded mountains of a fictional South American republic, employs flashbacks and glimpses of the future to depict the lure of silver and its effects on men. Conrad's deeply moral consciousness and masterful narrative technique are at their best in this, one of his finest works.
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Dover Thrift Editions (first published 1904)
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Napoleon Cail I failed miserably with The Secret Agent, it was not a London relatable to me, much like you probably failed with Heart of Darkness. And I relate to y…moreI failed miserably with The Secret Agent, it was not a London relatable to me, much like you probably failed with Heart of Darkness. And I relate to your problems with it. Conrad's prose is often impenetrable and may take many focused attempts.
Having said that. You would hate Nostromo - but you would be wrong. The characters in this book are grandiose, scenery exotic, and the plot mythological. This is monumental writing without showing off. Read.(less)
Steven Davıes Nostromo, as others have stated, is hard to get into. The first book, 'the Silver of the Mine', contains a lot of backstory which requires close readi…moreNostromo, as others have stated, is hard to get into. The first book, 'the Silver of the Mine', contains a lot of backstory which requires close reading in order to fathom what the motives of the main characters are. If you invest heavily in piecing together the history of Costaguana, it pays off in parts 2 and 3, which are much more plot driven. The scene which describes the confiscation of the silver on The Isabels is riveting and similar to THOD.(less)

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Glenn Russell



Nostromo by Joseph Conrad is a true classic, one of the greatest English language novels ever written.

Not far into the tale, I came across these lines about a silver mine owned by one Charles Gould, a proper Englishman by ancestry and disposition, a gent who lives with his wife in a mansion inherited from his father located in Conrad's fictional country of Costaguana in the northwest quadrant of South America, a country sharing much geography with real-life Colombia:

"Mrs Gould knew the history
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Lyn
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nostromo, Joseph Conrad’s South American novel reminds me somehow of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, perhaps the setting of mines in South America.

The underlying political ideologies are also reminiscent to some extent on Rand’s objectivism, and both author’s guileless mistrust of democracy ambles towards, but never wholly approaches, a Nietzschean ideal. In this aspect, Nostromo “the incorruptible” can be compared and contrasted with Kurtz, Conrad's archetypal villain from Heart of Darkness. Wherea
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Vit Babenco
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Conrad, who knew the human nature inside out, telling the story of Nostromo and portraying his personages is ironic and even slightly derisive…
Every man, somewhere deep inside, has his own share of rascality… And every human doing has two sides…
Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions. Only in the conduct of our action can we find the sense of mastery over the Fates.

The events take place in the South American country of Costaguana, which is
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Steven Godin
Between 1902 and the year of its publication (1904), Joseph Conrad was caught in an abyss of depression, financial collapse and severe gout, but somehow still managed to write what is a deep and adventurous novel, albeit a dark one. Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard, was originally planned as a short-story but was to become his longest work, with the composition it would lead him to say "I see nothing, I read nothing. It is like a kind of tomb which is also hell where one must write, write, write ...more
Jan-Maat
no...there is no peace and no rest in the development of material interests. They have their law, and their justice. But it is founded on expediency, and it is inhuman; it is without rectitude, without the continuity and the force that can be found only in a moral principle (p423)

On the reread I feel that this unrelentingly bleak novel is the novel of the twentieth century, at least for a fair proportion of the population of the world, this could be the country of Heart of Darkness once it had
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Steve
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Nostromo is considered by many to be Conrad’s greatest novel. The ambiguous nature of good and evil, the importance of duty, common themes in all of Conrad’s novels, get an epic treatment in Nostromo (my Modern Library edition is 630 pages long). But for all of its length, the novel, after the first dense, foundation building 50 pages or so, reads quickly. Published in 1904, the book has the feel of a modern novel. It’s a book about revolutions, money, and character, told through different voice ...more
Perry
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libri-classici
" He was ruined in every way, but a man possessed of passion is not a bankrupt in life. " J. Conrad, Nostromo

A splendid story of romanticism, adventure and vice. Conrad employs an intricate narrative structure, intertwining four character studies and differing points of view around Sulaco, an imagined South American country, a ticking bomb with a violent past. He perfectly contrasts these against the fabulous scenery of mist-hidden mountains and a silver mine.

The novel begins in the midst of
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Michael
This is a character study of Europeans remaking themselves in the New World, in this case the fictional South American country of Costaguana. As in other books by this master that I’ve enjoyed over the decades (Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, The Secret Sharer), I enjoyed the collision of the characters’ sense of noble purpose and the reality of corruption and self-interest that forever infests human enterprise. On the plus side, we delve into the minds and struggles of a larger cast of characters ...more
Alex
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Wait a minute, is this what Joseph Conrad is? I thought maybe I'd read The Secret Agent at the wrong time, because I felt like I should like it but I sortof didn't. I tell people I liked Heart of Darkness, but there's this vague air of uneasiness that I can't quite put my finger on: I've read it three times but I don't really remember it. And here I am at Nostromo, which is about a revolution! And secret treasure! This is exciting! And here's the thing: it fucking isn't. Here's Joseph Conrad's d ...more
Darwin8u
An almost perfect Novel. I can't think of but a handful of writers (Dostoevsky, Kafka, Melville) who have written a better book. ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who are already deep into the Conrad catalogue
Recommended to Czarny by: Prof. Hughes put it on a modern novel course that I took.
Shelves: english-lit
Nostromo is a very fine book and a great pleasure to read. The first reason is that if you are interested in hearing the opinions of their favourite authors and in Nostromo certainly has a lot of things to say about very many topics. Second, many people are fascinated by Conrad's analysis of United States as an Imperial Power in Latin America.

Unfortunatley, because of Nostromo's good qualities it often makes it way onto to undergraduate course lists where it does not belong. In order to air his
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Dale
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Nostromo was a difficult read for me. I started this book many years ago and gave up after the first 50 pages. This time I plowed through, and I'm glad I did. There's a lot of depth to this novel, but you don't see it until about halfway in.

The story takes place in a fictional South American country called Costaguana at the turn of the 20th century. An Englishman named Charles Gould has inherited a ruined mining concession, and undertakes to restore it, mostly as a means of sticking a thumb in t
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Jill
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I've tried. I really have. But after one short story (The Secret Sharer) and four novels (Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent, Lord Jim and now, Nostromo), I've come to the considered conclusion that I really don't appreciate Conrad. I admire him for his prodigious output, especially since he's a non-native English speaker who only learned to speak the language fluently when he was in his 20s (and even then, reportedly with a strong Polish accent). But with perhaps the exception of The Secret Ag ...more
Matt
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Conrad is cynical, in the best sense of that word. Lord Jim was one of my favorite books, and Nostromo is probably even better. Although it is difficult to become acquainted with the characters at first, the reader cannot help but understand them in a profound way by the end. Conrad's worldview is disturbing but also compelling, as he uses character, symbolism, and allegory to tell a realistic story with an abundance of lessons. ...more
Mike
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: John King

Nostromo begins with a legend. The story goes, among some of the people of Conrad’s republic of Costaguana, that two wandering sailors- “Americanos, perhaps, but gringos of some sort for certain”- persuade a local man to take them out across the Gulfo Placido to a desolate, inhospitable peninsula, where the locals believe there is gold. “The poor, associating by an obscure instinct of consolation the ideas of evil and wealth”, believe the peninsula to be cursed. On the second evening after the s
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Roger Brunyate
A Wonderful Book to Have Read

The tense of my title is deliberate. Virginia Woolf described Nostromo as "a difficult book to read through." A Conrad biographer called it "a novel that one cannot read unless one has read it before." I take both these verdicts from the excellent introduction to the Barnes and Noble edition by Brent Hayes Edwards, and they come as some relief. I generally find that introductory essays give away too many plot points, and this is no exception. But having read a little
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Jim
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is my third reading of this strange and remarkable book. As I began re-reading the first half of the story, I felt disappointed -- as if my taste as the young student who first read this book had somehow traduced me. There was no central figure in this story: It was certainly not Gian' Battista Fidanza, a.k.a. Nostromo, the handsome capataz de cargadores; nor was it Charles and Emily Gould, owners of the San Tomé silver mine; nor was it the host of other characters that Conrad parades befor ...more
Ivana
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece...

The funny thing is that for about a third of the novel, I had this strange feeling that there is something that was alluding me, something that I was not quite getting, like the story was for ever reason hard to follow and yet at the same time I felt immersed in the story and wanted to read more and more...

The characters seemed as real and as vivid as they possibly could had and still I felt a sense of distance, a fairy tale feeling. As I made my way towards to end, I had a feel
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Anna
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Chas
Shelves: fiction
‘Nostromo’ is the best illustration of the Resource Curse I’ve ever come across, although the phrase probably didn’t exist when Conrad was writing. It refers to countries that have plentiful natural resources and weak governance as a result of rapacious colonialism, so suffer from political instability and chronic corruption. Nigeria is a commonly cited example. In ‘Nostromo’, Conrad invents a South American country with a history of revolutions and dictatorships, centring his narrative on a sil ...more
Nathan
Jul 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 85 pages. This was a second attempt. I was so bored I couldn't make myself go on. I think I got to about 150 the first try. Maybe I'll push through it some day after I've read and enjoyed other books by Conrad. ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Greed stripped to the bone - at least you can eat bananas in such a republic - but tin pots with nothing to cook in them; funny thing is Che finds lots of 'Costaguanas' in his The Mortorcycle Diaries - ah well - truth is stranger than fiction - so 'they' say. ...more
Cphe
Quite an adventure, the story of Nostromo a hero to the people of Sulaco. Initially found this very difficult to get into, sorting out a timeframe for events and for the characters themselves. Not easy to find a reading rhythm but once I did the story started to flow.

A lot of characters on offer but they all have depth and substance. A novel of good versus evil, wealth and poverty and following the money trail.

Edited to add that I was more than happy with this free edition. Hours of reading enjo
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Ivana Books Are Magic
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
“She was highly gifted in the art of human intercourse which consists in delicate shades of self-forgetfulness and in the suggestion of universal comprehension.”
― Joseph Conrad, Nostromo


I’m opening this review with a quote that to me personally seems to reveal something of this novel’s complexity. Universal comprehension, the suggestion of what lies beneath the surface, at times even mysticism…all of this can be found in this novel, for Conrad’s works are very profound and complex. It is deepl
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Nancy Oakes
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-fiction
Once I got past the first few pages, I was completely into this amazing book. Written in 1904 but oh so relevant today as if Conrad could see into the future.

Definitely not for people who have short attention spans -- this one demands your complete attention and concentration.
Nick
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Joseph Conrad's "Nostromo" gets much love, perhaps more than any of the writer's works: the Modern Library ranks it high among all novels and F. Scott Fitzgerald was a particular fan. But in all the discussion about "Nostromo", I have yet to see any commentary on how oddly constructed it is. Conrad gets many things right about nineteenth century Latin America: the struggle between economic liberals and traditionalists, the deciding importance of the Army and especially its charismatic generals, ...more
Justin Evans
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This one's tough to review. I want to recommend it to everyone, but that's probably just a waste of a lot of time. I read this about ten years ago as a young college student, and just re-read it. Even while re-reading, the only things I remember are i) wondering to myself, if this book is called Nostromo, why is Nostromo absent for most of the book? ii) a short passage about bringing people into a paradise of snakes, and iii) Nostromo saying to himself "If I see smoke coming from over there, the ...more
Corto
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this novel moments ago...and I'm just speechless. When I woke up this morning, I had roughly a hundred pages left...and without intending to or realizing what I was doing, I read utterly captivated, until I finished.

What a phenomenal novel.

It's a parable of revolution and the silver mine at its epicenter in a South American republic (circa early 1900's). As the story unfolds, it tells the tale of how the mine inspires, corrupts and motivates everyone in its immediate orbit, up th
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Tanuj Solanki
Knottily plotted. The story hurtles forward only when a special narrative device is used. Otherwise the omniscient narrator is almost always a marker of description and stasis. The novel feels uneven; there are sharp edges, there are mellow troughs. These qualities are somewhat soaked by our eponymous hero as well. His heroism, although meant to be vain, can also be just damp at times.

There are beautiful long sentences that make you go tsk-tsk regarding the state of all, even literary, writing
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Smiley
I found this highly-acclaimed novel, "Nostromo," by Joseph Conrad quite tough to read, I mean how to focus on its mysterious plot, lengthy narrative, unfamiliar Spanish/French words or sentences, etc. I had no choice but kept reading based on my heart's content, that is, I'd read whenever I was in the mood and regarded it as a kind of my sleeping medicine. I kept consoling myself that I loved him since I had read his "Heart of Darkness" and "Lord Jim", therefore, this was simply another reading ...more
Marc
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely Conrad's most accomplished novel. Of course the reading is very difficult because of the continually shifting in time, space and narrator, yet this is very clevery done. The core of the story is how silver can make even the hardest rock grow weak. Nostromo, that's us all!
(Rating 3.5 stars)
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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
...more

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