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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But I wouldn't be suspected even remotely of making fun of Axel Heyst. I have
always liked him. The flesh and blood individual who stands behind the infinitely
more familiar figure of the book I remember as a mysterious Swede right enough.
“I am certain you wouldn't,” I assured him, concealing my amusement at his
wonderful delicacy. He was the most delicate man that ever took a small steamer
to and fro amongst the islands. But his humanity, which was not less strong and ...
If I were to tell the fellows they wouldn't believe me. How did you get round her,
Heyst? How did you think of it? Why, she looks too stupid to understand human
speech and too scared to shoo a chicken away. Oh, the women, the women' You
It was a great comfort to hear her say: “It wouldn't have been the first time. And
suppose she did—what are you going to do about it?” “I don't know,” he said with
a faint, remote playfulness in his tone which had not been heard in it lately, and ...
“If it was anybody at all,” she reflected aloud, “it wouldn't have been any one but
that hotel woman—the landlord's wife.” “Mrs. Schomberg?” Heyst said, surprised.
“Yes. Another one that can't sleep o' nights. Why? Don't you see why? Because ...
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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