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Chance

Joseph Conrad

Book Overview: 

Apparently a two part story about a Damsel and a Knight, perhaps a damsel who depends upon the kindness of strangers. The book itself was the biggest commercial success for Conrad up until that time. It allowed Conrad for the first time to settle his financial affairs. The author's disdain for people who live on the land is apparent. A new understanding of the word "enthusiastic" is promulgated. And it is a love story.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I was aware of it on that beautiful day, so fresh, so warm and friendly, so accomplished—an exquisite courtesy of the much abused English climate when it makes up its meteorological mind to behave like a perfect gentleman. Of course the English climate is never a rough. It suffers from spleen somewhat frequently—but that is gentlemanly too, and I don’t mind going to meet him in that mood. He has his days of grey, veiled, polite melancholy, in which he is very fascinating. How seldom he lapses into a blustering manner, after all! And then it is mostly in a season when, appropriately enough, one may go out and kill something. But his fine days are the best for stopping at home, to read, to think, to muse—even to dream; in fact to live fully, intensely and quietly, in the brightness of comprehension, in that receptive glow of the mind, the gift of the clear, luminous and serene weather.”

That day I had intended to live intensely and quietly, basking i. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Superb

A master story teller shows why he is still popular all these many years later. A psychological story that keeps one on the edge oh one's seat from beginning to end. It is stunning to think that English was not Conrad's first language.

I think the fact that this was a commercial success whereas the Great Reading Public ignored Lord Jim says a lot about the taste of the early 20th century. I'm reading through Conrad, chronologically, and this was such a disappointment. If this had been my introduction, I'd have read no further....more

This is now my favourite Conrad novel, completely different than any of his other books and a most pleasant surprise. A unique love story, its quirkiness suggests it was ahead of its time with the unique and strong female character. A great love story!

Enjoyed it thoroughly for its excellent psychological portrayal. It had just a touch of the thriller without being sensational. Poignant, and reminds me of some real-life situations, not least of which is the Madoff scandal.

I haven't read any Conrad since high school, so this was a nice reintrod...more

Conrad's moral imagination is unparalleled, except by Henry James, of whose influence this book bears some signs. Also breathtaking in its technical handling of the mechanics of narrative. Anyone wishing to study or write a novel could do no better than to start here.

Mediocre Joseph Conrad, only recommended for die-hard fans or completests. Basically a slow moving story of how chance plays into the lives of the main characters and brings about a minor miracle.

In typical Conrad fashion, he employs an awkward narrative device. It's basically in 1st person altho...more

If you're looking for a great book (i.e. entertaining and thought-provoking) by an author you respect, but who you may be avoiding for whatever reason, this is the book for you. If may seem at first like another gloomy "Marlow, tell us a story..." sort of yarn, but don't worry: most of the action...more

Absorbing plot in the first chapter, somewhat predictable second chapter. I find the multiple narrators confusing. The third chapter tells of a pyramid scheme and is told by Marlowe to Powell, I presume.

The narrators are becoming quite confusing by Chapter 4: the Fynes told it to Marlowe who is...more

A great fan of Conrad in my youth. This one is my personal favourite.

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