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Almayer's Folly

Joseph Conrad

Book Overview: 

Almayer’s Folly is about a poor businessman who dreams of finding a hidden gold mine and becoming very wealthy. Kaspar Almayer is a white European. He agrees to marry a native Malayan captured by Captain Tom Lingard, his employer, believing the marriage will bring him riches even though he has no love for the woman. They have one daughter named Nina. Almayer relocates with his wife to Malaysia where he hopes to build a trading company and find gold mines. His hopeless daydreams of riches and splendor cause his native wife to loath him.

Almayer, desperate, hopes to find his salvation in Dain Maroola, a Malayan prince, who arrives on the island one day. Maroola agrees to work with Almayer and Lakamba, the Rajah, to send an expedition in search of the gold mines. In fact, Maroola is interested only in Nina with whom he has fallen in love. They then plan to secretly leave the island.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ll of strong and uncontrolled passions, had lost the power to discriminate.  It seemed to Nina that there was no change and no difference.  Whether they traded in brick godowns or on the muddy river bank; whether they reached after much or little; whether they made love under the shadows of the great trees or in the shadow of the cathedral on the Singapore promenade; whether they plotted for their own ends under the protection of laws and according to the rules of Christian conduct, or whether they sought the gratification of their desires with the savage cunning and the unrestrained fierceness of natures as innocent of culture as their own immense and gloomy forests, Nina saw only the same manifestations of love and hate and of sordid greed chasing the uncertain dollar in all its multifarious and vanishing shapes.  To her resolute nature, however, after all these years, the savage and uncompromising sincerity of purpose shown by her Malay kinsmen seemed at. . . Read More

Community Reviews

About as fine a first novel as I've ever read.

First published in 1895, Almayer’s Folly was Joseph Conrad’s first novel, written within a year after he stepped onto the dock after his long career at sea.

Set in colonial Borneo, Almayer’s Folly deals with many of the themes that he would return to again and again over his successful and influenti

“No Two Human Beings Understand Each Other. They Can Understand but Their Own Voices.”

(view spoiler)[This bitter truth – optimists might please themselves by regarding it as an assumption merely –, as voiced by the protagonist’s daughter Nina, seems to be the upshot of Joseph Conrad’s first novel, Almayer’s Folly, (hide spoiler)]

Not my favorite Conrad, not even second tier, but it is still amazing to read. This was Conrad's debut novel and you can see flashes of his big themes (not yet mature) swirling in the deep water of his words.

'Almayer's Folly' reminded me of a gloomy, obsessive Melville novella or an alienated E. M.

In un clima di malinconia e insoddisfazione generale, si consuma.la disillusione di Almayer, fulgido esempio della ben nota teoria dell'ostrica che il buon Verga descrisse nella novella Fantasticheria e sviluppò ampiamente ne I Malavoglia.

Another continent and another dark, dank river story by Conrad. Almayer is an European who has never lived in Europe. He lives on a river in Sabir (Malaysia) at a time where the Dutch and English were still fighting/arguing who ruled but tensions and rebellion were in the air. He is forced to marry

Nun, ich bin zwar ein großer Fan der Werke von Joseph Conrad, aber "Almayers Wahn" (unter diesem Titel las ich die Erzählung in einer Ausgabe gesammelter Werke) hat mir nicht ganz so gut gefallen: Es hat Längen, kommt nicht so recht vorwärts. Ansonsten wieder super: All diese Glücksritter und Desill

I have always wondered how Conrad could learn English from sailors without having a tutor let alone write with such overwhelming vigor and "worderly" style. I mean, he had to be a real prodigy without exaggeration. I can find themes and symbols in Almayer's Folly that resonate with Heart of Darkness

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