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An Outcast of the Islands

Joseph Conrad

Book Overview: 

An Outcast of the Islands is the second novel by Joseph Conrad, inspired by Conrad's experience as mate of a steamer, the Vigar. The novel details the undoing of Peter Willems, a disreputable, immoral man who, on the run from a scandal in Makassar, finds refuge in a hidden native village, only to betray his benefactors over lust for the tribal chief's daughter. The story features Conrad's recurring character Tom Lingard, who also appears in Almayer's Folly and The Rescue, in addition to sharing other characters with those novels. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .leap into the hurrying river, over the edge of the steep bank. There was also a pathway there and it seemed frequented. Willems landed, and following the capricious promise of the track soon found himself in a comparatively clear space, where the confused tracery of sunlight fell through the branches and the foliage overhead, and lay on the stream that shone in an easy curve like a bright sword-blade dropped amongst the long and feathery grass.

Further on, the path continued, narrowed again in the thick undergrowth. At the end of the first turning Willems saw a flash of white and colour, a gleam of gold like a sun-ray lost in shadow, and a vision of blackness darker than the deepest shade of the forest. He stopped, surprised, and fancied he had heard light footsteps—growing lighter—ceasing. He looked around. The grass on the bank of the stream trembled and a tremulous path of its shivering, silver-grey tops ran from the water to the beginning of the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

pure Conrad. slow, detailed, reflective. when i got done reading it i felt like i had lived it, so vivid were the memories.

What makes a man evil or good ? Family maybe friends the environment or your own nature ? This is what Joseph Conrad's novel, An Outcast of the Islands tries to find out, Peter Willems a Dutch born poor boy leaves his miserable bleak home, to seek a better more prosperous future the Sea will be Pete

I first read this book many years ago and remember liking it somewhat. This time, I read it on a long flight from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Los Angeles and loved it. Joseph Conrad is one of your better Eye-of-God writers, and in An Outcast of the Islands, he rises to his subject of colonialism in 19th

It's a perennial mystery how one can enjoy a book when there are no likeable characters and the trajectory is relentlessly downward to tragedy. It can only be that Conrad is such a superb writer, with his ability to analyse and describe emotion and to reflect it in the setting. The raw misery of the


On the one hand, if nothing much happened in Conrad's assured debut, Almayer's Folly, nothing really happens here, in this doubly-assured sophomore outing and prequel to the non-eventful aforementioned.

On the other hand, if you are not a slave to things happening, this novel has manifold charms—

"[...] dorinta lui pentru ea deveni imensa, arzatoare, irationala si necrutatoare, strigand prin toate simturile lui; mai tare decat ura, mai puternica decat groaza, irezistibila si sigura ca insasi moartea."
Este cel de-al doilea roman al lui Joseph Conrad, aparut in 1896, in care avem o

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