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Victoria Reads Books

Global citizen, adventurer, ponderer. Lover of coffee, books, and the Oxford comma. Infected by wanderlust, enchanted by stories. Might occasionally be a photo blog.

Currently reading

Jane Austen
Progress: 230/412 pages
Le Petit Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Eight Great Comedies
Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, William Burton
The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction, Compact Edition: Stories and Authors in Context
Dana Gioia, R.S. Gwynn
Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy, Louise Maude, Aylmer Maude, E.B. Greenswood
The Secret Sharer - Joseph Conrad My eyes caress the delicate words strewn across the page, tasting the sweet nectar and experiencing the literary pleasure only a skilful painter of words can bring, the existence of the words intertwining with the essence of my being, stroking my heart and stoking the fire of my mind...

Uhmmmm... bleh. I'm sorry you read that. :/

Now that I've gotten my rather sorry attempt at being the next Joseph Conrad out of my system, I'll keep going with this review. ;)

The Secret Sharer is the second Joseph Conrad work that I have read. It is a novelette (about 16 500 words in length), hence is a rather quick read. Despite this, Conrad's endlessly descriptive prose style can take getting used to. The following is an excerpt from The Secret Sharer:

"She floated at the starting point of a long journey, very still in an immense stillness, the shadows of her spars flung far to the eastward by the setting sun... around us nothing moved, nothing lived, not a canoe on the water, not a bird in the air, not a cloud in the sky. In this breathless pause at the threshold of a long passage we seemed to be measuring our fitness for a long and arduous enterprise, the appointed task of both our existences to be carried out, far from all human eyes, with only sky and sea for spectators and for judges."

For me, it is undeniable that his writing is beautiful. Regardless, the basic plot is so threadbare that occasionally, Conrad finds the need to over-describe objects or situations that ultimately serve no purpose, either to the plot or overall environment.

(Confession time: I fell asleep in my school library while reading this work.)

I could probably summarize the plot of this book in one sentence. I'll opt for a brief description, however:

A sea captain who doesn't know his crew very well sees a naked guy clinging to the side of his boat at night and hides him in his cabin. He learns that the guy is on the run from his own ship because he killed someone.


So, obviously the focus of this book isn't the plot because there really isn't much of it there. The interesting part of this book concerns Leggatt, the 'secret sharer', who the unnamed narrator repeatedly states is basically his doppelganger. This, of course, brings forth some interesting questions of what Leggatt is supposed to represent, and the impact that meeting Leggatt has on the sea captain.

Overall, I did enjoy this story, but am not overly passionate about it. The prose is beautiful, and although simplistic, the plot provides a frame upon which to display some interesting thoughts and ideas.

Entertainment value: 2/5
Writing quality/style: 5/5
Readability: 3.75/5 (5 being the most difficult to read)
Characters (depth/development): 3.5/5
Plot: 1.5/5