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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The flesh and blood individual who stands behind the infinitely more familiar
figure of the book I remember as a mysterious Swede right enough. Whether he
was a baron, too, I am not so certain. He himself never laid a claim to that
“Queer chap, that Swede,” was his only comment; but this is the origin of the
name “Enchanted Heyst” which some fellows fastened on our man. He also had
other names. In his early years, long before he got so becomingly bald on the top,
Morrison knew no more of Heyst than the rest of us trading in the Archipelago did.
Had the Swede suddenly risen and hit him on the nose, he could not have been
taken more aback than when this stranger, this nondescript wanderer, said with ...
and a pair of great dazzling wings to sprout on the Swede's shoulders—and didn'
t want to miss a single detail of the transformation. But if Heyst was an angel from
on high, sent in answer to prayer, he did not betray his heavenly origin by ...
The Swede was as much distressed as Morrison; for he understood the other's
feelings perfectly. No decent feeling was ever scorned by Heyst. But he was
incapable of outward cordiality of manner, and he felt acutely his defect.
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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 - www.librarything.com
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