Friday, February 26, 2016

The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad

The Secret Agent
Title: The Secret Agent
Author: Joseph Conrad
Publication Date: June 1907
Pages: 304
Genre: Classic / Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: 100 Best Novels
Date Completed: 1/18/16

Summary: Mr. Verloc, a London shop owner and secret agent, becomes involved in a terrorist plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory. In the process, things go awry and his family gets involved.

What I Thought: My disdain for the work of Joseph Conrad has been well documented on this blog. Yet, the man has four books on the Modern Library list, so I travel onward. I grabbed this one in part because of its short length and in part to simply bite the bullet and get through. What I found surprised me.

It turns out Conrad wrote about things other than the colonizing exploitation of Africa. This novel is set in London and, while it really falls into the same period adventure novel category as Conrad's other works, it carries a far different tone. The plot is clearer but the characters are just as morally ambiguous. 

I did not love the book. Conrad still lies in a niche with which I struggle to relate. Yet, I found this one at least palatable. There were parts toward the end I even enjoyed. It even had, dare I say it, some thrilling moments and actual surprising twists. 

Really, Conrad's style remains true to his other work. It's the drastically different plot that took me pleasantly by surprise. I was happy for the change. My feelings for Conrad's work have inched from disdain to dislike or even apathy. We'll have to wait and see how his fourth and final work on the list tips the scale. Here's hoping it's closer in tone and plot to this work - if for nothing but my own sanity.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe
Other Books By Joseph Conrad: Lord Jim / Heart of Darkness

A Reduced Review: A nice change from Conrad's other work, The Secret Agent has a very different plot, though the same adventure novel style. 

No comments:

Post a Comment