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Tales of Unrest

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  38 reviews
JOSEPH CONRAD (1857-1924) was one of the most remarkable figures in English literature. Born in Poland, and originally named Josef Teodor Konrad Walecz Korzeniowski, he went to sea at the age of seventeen and eventually joined the crew of an English vessel, becoming a British citizen in the process. He retired from the sea in 1894 and took up the pen, writing all his works ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published August 8th 2000 (first published 1898)
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Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
A hidden gem of Conrad mastery.

This collection of short works represent some of Conrad’s earlier work. First published in 1898, four of the five stories had been previously published. A reader will find many of Conrad’s most frequently explored themes: isolation, distinctions between East and West, between colonial and native, a discernment and critique of civilization. But these shorter works also reflect his sharp observation of human nature and his adept ability to dissect relationships.

Tanuj Solanki
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: britain, e-book
The stories here are from Conrad's early period, in the last decade of 19th century. Given below are my ratings for each of them, along with the setting.

Karain: a memory - 4 (Malaya)
The Idiots - 4.5 (Rural France)
An Outpost of Progress - 5 (Congo)
The Return - 4.5 (London)
The Lagoon - 3 (Malaya)

Of these, An Outpost of Progress stands out, and can be read as a sort of precursor to Heart of Darkness. In the story, we see the disintegration that befalls when white men stay in an outpost in dark dark
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Like most everything I've read recently, I'm GOING to review. Just not today.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, really.
Recommended to Wayne by: Reading Conrad at school.

Conrad, Polish born, is recorded as having written his first letter in English aged 28 in 1885. In 1896, aged almost 40, his first novel was published. Of this, his publisher's reader, Edward Garnett, wrote: "When he read aloud to me some new MS pages of 'An Outcast of the Islands' he mispronounced so many words that I followed him with difficulty. I found then that he had never once heard these English words spoken, but had learned them all from books."

This is only one of the fascinations that
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories

Collected and published as Tales of Unrest in 1898, his five-story tales decisively prove a bit tough to me with lots of unknown words, many new and worth challengingly interpreting, but literally enjoyable due to his rich and deepening narratives, thrilling plots, unique suspense, true-to-life dialogs, etc. As an overview, we should know that 'Karain: A Memory' and 'The Lagoon' have the settings in Malaya (I guess at the time of his writing, it was called/known as the Malay Archipelago,
Paul Cornelius
I had read these stories at least three times previously before coming to them again, today. And they were well worth rereading. These are among Conrad's earliest efforts. But all of them manage to create an atmosphere that foreshadows what will appear in later works. Only one, "The Return," falls short of expectations. Frankly, it's simply too wordy. The attempt at psychoanalyzing his two main characters doesn't quite succeed. Even so, it's an important piece within the context of Conrad's over ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
The early work of famous writers can sometimes be an interesting experience as we see them stretch themselves, attempting new subjects and approaches that they had not tried before, and which we will not see them attempt again. Hence the five stories that make up Joseph Conrad’s Tales of Unrest are full of interesting surprises for the Conrad admirer.

The book opens and ends with two fairly similar stories, and I will begin with those. The first story in the book is ‘Karain: A Memory’. While the
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stories, conrad
When Joseph Conrad is mentioned, the idea of him as a chronicler of the evils of imperialism is mixed with the notion of his undeniable bigotry. Rarely has an author so clear-eyed about the evil that men do been so comfortable with the idea of racial hierarchy. But Conrad's theme is the isolation of the soul. He is as truthful about that as any literary artist has ever been.
TALES OF UNREST is his second published book; a collection of five stories. It was published in 1898, the year he turned 41
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I love Joseph Conrad so much I actually wrote in the margins of this book whenever I came across a passage that blew my mind. And as someone who normally cringes at the thought of defacing a book by writing in margins, it's the highest compliment I can pay.
Thavakumar Kandiahpillai
I read this book long after reading the Heart of Darkness, and that set expectations.

Conrad excels in tales of exotic locales and adventure, whether it is Africa or the Malay archipelago. His understanding of the colonial interaction with the native is deep and nuanced and darkly humorous and often critical of the then prevailing mindset. His other stories in this book based in France and Britain are dark and heavy and are a study of the traumatised human psyche, without the benefit of the exot
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Wallace
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Early short stories by one of the great stylists of literature. Rediscovering Conrad has been a profound pleasure and these stories make a great reintroduction. Several of them are set in a colonial world where Europeans often behave abominably and are undone by their own natures. One of them is also a ghost story. The one story set in an English home, "The Return," is a masterpiece of agonizing introspection by a man who seems to have no real capacity for the act . . . told in a way that prefig ...more
Avishek Chatterjee
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The era of colonization is upon us. And with that, come connective stories of human flavour. Conrad's attempt to showcase a few of these days and people is interesting in execution and carries the errie feeling that even with words, our understanding of cultures is as alien as they are to us.

And in the end, all we can do is hope to learn from the glimpses provided.
Tom Leland
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading for "The Return" alone: every feeling and thought experienced by a selfish snob of a man when his wife walks out on him, and again when she returns, described with astonishing insight and clarity.
Andy Todd
Let's declare straightaway that Conrad is my favourite author. This light collection is not his best writing yet has a charm and provides a fine gateway into his south sea tales for those coming to this master writer for the first time.
Kim Zinkowski
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Nice set of atmospheric stories. If Poe was less gothic and romantic, he would write tales like these.
Apr 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Good to read for the history of the world. I didn't find any of the stories overly engaging, but they all were worth reading.
George Blum
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece. Beautiful writing.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it

This 216-page anthology provides an excellent introduction for new readers to Polish-born Joseph Conrad, who deftly paints on an English canvass. Having selected five of his tales the editors present readers with settings in both the exotic tropics of Malaysia and Africa, as well as the chilly social milieus of socialite London and pastoral France. Perhaps the editors chose the word UNREST for their title because all the protagonists experience psychological m
Francis Bruynseels
The pearl in the collection is "An Outpost of Progress" a simply brilliant story told with enormous economy. The title is obviously ironic but it is hard to know which lines are intended to be comic. The insults like "pot bellied ass" are funny but were they intended rather to be dramatic? Conrad adopts a godlike superiority toward his characters. I am fairly sure the final line of the story is intended to be amusing but I didn't find it so.

Conrad's style of writing is fantastic despite the gall
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More like "Tales of Sleeplessness." I haven't read Conrad since college and had forgotten how deeply unsettling his stories can be -- and also how absolutely magnificent his sentences are, especially considering that English was not his first language. The recurrence of the doppleganger theme is intriguing.....I would like to find a good biography of this fascinating man.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought it might be tricky to give stars to a volume of short stories. Not so, every one of these is 5 star. Conrad at his very best with his pitiless yet pitiful delineation of the human condition. And if I could give 10 stars for The Return, I would. His focus on the bedroom mirrors is one of the most unsettling images I have ever read. Conrad, the most underrated writer ever.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing! I must confess high school probably ruined Heart of Darkness for me, but I really enjoyed this one :-)
The Return did drag on a bit (talk about having a strong reaction!!) - the themes etc were interesting enough, BUT the endless(!) inner drama of Alvan irritated me so much that what could have been a 5 star rating was only 4½ :-)
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
What a great storyteller. His fixation on the ills of "modern man" at the turn of the last century. is captivating. Just what you'd expect in short stories from Joseph "The Heart of Darkness" Conrad.
Charles C VanCott
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five Terrific Takes

I enjoyed all five stories, liking The Idiots, An Outpost of Progress and The Lagoon the best. I would have given five stars, but these words do not hit the same level as Heart of darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo or The Secret Agent.
Patrick Neylan
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Very early collection of short stories
May 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I liked most of the stories, but 'The Return' was pretty painful and of course it was the longest!
Andy Vale
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Moving, often unpredictable, and so richly written. Conrad is a master.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: polish, english
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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

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