Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book - Nostromo (74th Book)

Meh- That is my sentiment about Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. I really don't care about this book at all. I  wasn't very engaged in the story, and I don't have much to say about it in terms of a blog. It is interesting to note however that being only 30+ days away from my wedding and huge move hasn't slowed me down one bit. I finished this book last month on time and I am half way through this month's book Beloved. I even managed to finish off two half finished books from the list of 1001 and start another.

Nostromo is set in a South American town constantly overthrown by revolution. Every single one of the characters is flawed in some way and their dreams and ambitions end up their down fall. Nostromo is a man who is in love with his reputation. He is adored by the people because he always seems to save the day. He is sent on a mission to save the silver by a man named Decoud who has spoken negatively about the revolutionaries and is now fleeing for his life and trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his beloved by bringing in reinforcements.  Their boat filled with silver crashes into the revolutionary troops but avoids detection. Decoud stays on the island refuge while Nostromo returns to the mainland in search of help. Decoud goes crazy in the short time it takes waiting for Nostromo to return, and Nostromo is unable to report the crime because of four pieces of missing silver which Decoud uses to sink himself. His reputation is so important to him that he can not reveal what really happened the night that he tried to save the silver. I was reminded of the tell tale heart during the time when Nostromo is overcoming with his love for the silver. It slowly drives him crazy and ends up being his downfall.

I am most saddened by Charles Gould the owner of the mine who throws away everything in order to make the mine successful. He loves his wife for her brilliant mind and shared vision, but she is slowly lost to him in his obsession for the silver. Emilia Gould his wife might be the one truly good character who tried to help everyone and remains devoted to her husband despite the fact that he doesn't see her.

It is the silver that hangs over the entire town of Sulaco eventually polluting almost everyone and everything in its path. I really liked a passage uttered by Decoud, I believe, about value in objects, "things seem to be worth nothing by what they are in themselves. I being to believe that the only solid thing about them is the spiritual value which everyone discovers in his own form of activity". EAch person in the novel is on a quest of sorts. They are consumed by the quest while the silver it self holds different meanings for all of them.

The only thing I like about this story is that it shows that all of us are both good and bad. There are no truly evil characters in this story and each person has shades of both evil and good in them. The story it self was as slog for me and I found it difficult to care about any of the people or what they were doing. The last half of the story was an easier read, but it still wasn't enough to redeem the rest of the tale for me.

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