Tuesday, 14 August 2001

The secret agent and open-source computer games

Listening to:

Mahler, symphony no. 10.

Just read:

Joseph Conrad, The secret agent.

I enjoyed this a great deal. It’s a dark novel, but one populated by brilliantly drawn characters. Viewed from afar, the plot is extremely simple; only three or four things of real significance happen. However, this is not how you see the novel as a reader. Instead, you are taken into the minds of the various characters, and shown a picture of the world that is incredibly vivid. I think Conrad excels himself both in the description of the characters’ mental states, and also in his descriptions of the physical world they’re in. Even Dickens in Bleak House doesn’t describe as miserable, nor as muddy a London as Conrad does here.

The relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Verloc (arguably the central characters, despite the detective story interlude) is very well done, much better than Heyst and Lena in Victory. Finally, the novel’s ending, both its climax and denouement, is very effective.


I enjoyed reading this book a lot. The main reason is because the characters represent things that go beyond the book. The anarchists represent communism, the Great Personage represents the government, and innocent Stevie represents the people that are victimized from all of the people above. Another book similar to this is Animal Farm, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Posted by: Billi Jo at November 17, 2004 09:24 AM