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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Solitude, shade, and gloomy silence—and a faint, treacherous breeze which
came from under the trees and quite unexpectedly caused the melting Davidson
to shiver slightly—the little shiver of the tropics which in Sourabaya, especially,
“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.
He had never heard anybody speak like this before; certainly not Heyst, whose
conversation was concise, polite, with a faint ring of playfulness in the cultivated
tones of his voice. “He's gone mad,” Davidson thought to himself. But, looking at ...
“I don't know,” he said with a faint, remote playfulness in his tone which had not
been heard in it lately, and which seemed to catch her ear pleasantly. “I am
grieved to say that I don't know. But can I do anything? What would you wish me
“It would be too long a tale,” said Heyst, with a faint smile. Heyst's smiles were
rather melancholy, and accorded badly with his great moustaches, under which
his :ner. playfulness lurked as comfortably as a shy bird in its native thicket.
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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