Friday, March 1, 2013

Joseph Conrad - Lord Jim

"Why did I loathe this book so much... I was an English major in college. I have a master's degree in English literature. I love books!"

"There are too many perspectives."

"This book was literally painful to read!"

"Even if I were the only person in the world who was saying that they just couldn't understand Conrad's writing, I would still say it. I would not bow to peer pressure and call his storytelling 'masterful', or even 'readable'. Reading this book made me feel like I had massive ADD, or a brain tumor, which rendered me unable to understand what was going on."

"I just don't like Conrad. He is smarter than I am"

"Jove! This book was ruined by being a story-within-a-story!"

"English to Conrad was a third language, and reading this book was like listening to a foreigner with a heavy accent. The sentence structure is odd and off kilter ... Have you ever read a novel when you were really, really high, and you have to read a paragraph three times to comprehend what is going on because your mind and attention drift? You are continuously flipping pages back and forth because you can’t remember who that character is, or where or even what they are talking about? Lord Jim reads like that, except without the drugs."

"Jim was an officer on a ship that sank. Although he wanted to be noble in going down with his ship, his survival instincts made him jump off the ship. While 800 people perished in the ship, jim feels guilty he was not one of them. His perceive moral lapse made him destitute because he did not want to accept the money he earned via being one of the ships officers."

"At first I took the novel's stubborn resistance to being read as a challenge. Lord Jim is squeezed into large chunks of paragraphs, dialogue and all, which was strangely fascinating. I've never met a book which didn't seem to want to be read. It's quite frankly a formatting nightmare. Were I the editor, I would've thrown Conrad's manuscript in his face and yelled at him for wasting my time.

On top of his utterly disastrous formatting, Conrad's prose is so painfully verbose that I was bored to tears sometimes. All of this would've been perfectly worth it if there had been a great pay off characteristic of other challenging novels like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings."

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