In Victory (1915) Conrad returns to the Malay Archipelago, to the setting of his first mature novel, Lord Jim, and in Axel Heyst he creates a hero who is in many ways similar to Jim, a noble altruist destroyed by his ideals. Heyst is emotionally crippled by the influence of his dead father, a sceptical philosopher who has bequeathed to Heyst an attitude to life summed up in the father's dying words: 'Look on - make no sound.' Despite this injunction Heyst allows himself to become inextricably involved with an English Cockney girl whom he rescues from Giancomo's Travelling Ladies' Orchestra and carries off to his isolated retreat on the island of Samburan. His action incurs the fatal wrath of Schomberg, the island's innkeeper, who sends in pursuit of Heyst three demonic strangers whose invasion of his island paradise leads rapidly to the novel's violent and tragic close.
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“Upon my word, I don't know why I have been telling you all this. I suppose
seeing a thoroughly white man made it impossible to keep my trouble to myself.
Words can't do it justice; but since I've told you so much I may as well tell you
“I don't know how it is that I've never been able to save. It's some sort of curse.
There's always a bill or two to meet.” He plunged his hand into his pocket for the
famous notebook so well known in the islands, the fetish of his hopes, and
“Won't you tell me—” “I've told you.” “Eh?” A mist seemed to roll away from before
Davidson's eyes, disclosing something he could not believe. “You can't mean it!”
he cried. “He's not the man for it.” But the last words came out in a faint voice.
... and where's the harm of offering a grenadine, or what not, to a lady artist? But
that fellow—that Swede— he got round the girl. He got round all the people out
here. I've been watching him for years. You remember how he got round
When we did come together, almost the first thing he said to me was: “I've seen
him.” Before I could exclaim, he assured me that he had taken no libertv. that he
had not intruded. He was called in. Otherwise he would not have dreamed of ...
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - DanielSTJ - www.librarything.com
Conrad managed to develop characters, imperfect, that all drove themselves forward on their own agendas to the story's conclusion- facilitating and enabling it along the way. He manages to keep the ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Cecrow - LibraryThing
In the first part we get an outsider's view of Axel Heyst's character, actions and motives without being certain who he is or what actually drives him. I found this off-putting until the second part ... Read full review