2008: 130. Nostromo

“In the time of Spanish rule, and for many years afterwards, the town of Sulaco - the luxuriant beauty of the orange garden bears witness to its antiquity - had never been commercially anything more important than a coasting port with a fairly large local trade in ox-hides and indigo.”

Nostromo, Joseph Conrad

Sometimes I read a classic, even one I am not particularly excited about, and end up being totally wowed (and writing a stupid review about how some great work of literature is actually pretty darn good - see e.g., The Crucible).  This is not one of those times.  Quite frankly, I found Nostromo to be a tough read.  I am hit or miss on Conrad - love The Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent, suffered through but appreciated Lord Jim, but Nostromo didn’t do much for me.  It might have been the setting - I am ashamed to admit that stories set in Latin America during the turn of the century are not always my favorite, but mostly it was because while I understood the central character conflicts that Conrad was creating in his story (Charles Gould and his obsession with the mine, Nostromo turning from honor to cupidity), they never felt like real people to me, only like ideas writ large.  There were characters that I appreciated - Mrs. Gould was one, and the cynical doctor another, and I did think that Conrad effectively captured the nature of South American governments at the time - the junta atmosphere, but overall the characters weren’t enough to make the book for me - and character is what Conrad is all about.


Date/Place Completed:  8/29/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Commuting Book, Modern Library Top 100, Book Resolution

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017