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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... not resume for my edification the exposition of his moral attitude toward life
illustrated by striking particular instances of the most atrocious complexion. Did
he mean to frighten me? Or seduce me? Or astonish me? Or arouse my
He dragged after him up and down that section of the tropical belt a silent,
frightened little woman with long ringlets, who smiled at one stupidly, showing a
blue tooth. I don't know why so many of us patronized his various establishments.
As somebody remarked cynically once, she was too unattractive to be anything
else. The opinion that he treated her abominably was based on her frightened
expression. Davidson lifted his hat to her. Mrs. Schomberg gave him an
She would be frightened at the first sight of it. She would scream. The capacity for
sympathy in these stout, placid men! Davidson was stirred to the depths; and it
was easy to see that it was about Heyst that he was concerned. We asked him if ...
The insight he had obtained almost frightened him; he couldn't get over his
wonder at knowing more of the real Mrs. Schomberg than anybody in the Islands,
including Schomberg himself. She was a miracle of dissimulation. No wonder
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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