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 reader will go on reading if the book pleases him and the critic will go on
criticizing with that faculty of detachment born perhaps from a sense of infinite
littleness and which is yet the only faculty that seems to assimilate man to the
I would perhaps have tracked the ways of that man of immense sincerity for a little
while but I had some of my own very pressing business to attend to, which in the
end got mixed up with an earthquake and so I had no time to give to Ricardo.
Or perhaps they had only migrated to the other big café, on the other side of the
Place de la Comédie. It is very possible. I did not go across to find out. It was my
perfect idleness that had invested the girl with a peculiar charm, and I did not
And perhaps it was some sort of enchantment. There are more spells than your
commonplace magicians ever dreamed of. Roughly speaking, a circle with a
radius of eight hundred miles drawn round a point in North Borneo was in Heyst's
or perhaps by the incongruity of it that he had related the experience to more than
one person. “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.
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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