Wednesday, 9 January 2002

Under western eyes

Listening to:

Schoenberg, Verklärte Nacht.

Just read:

Joseph Conrad, Under western eyes.

This impressive novel is set in Russia and Switzerland, and tells the story of a young Russian student, Razumov, who is caught up in revolutionary politics in the early years of the 20th century (i.e., before the actual Russian Revolution). He ends up having to leave Russia after a high-ranking government official is assassinated, and goes to Geneva. There he mixes with an emigré community of revolutionaries, who have quite the wrong impression of his true nature.

There’s not a lot of “action” in this novel; much of what happens is simply dialogue and characters meeting other characters. Nonetheless, I found it decidedly compelling. The characters are well-drawn, and the situations they find themselves in are full of tension and interest.

I read quite a few books over the holiday break, and I’m now quite busy with work, so my next few entries will be short, and mainly concerned with my book review back-log.

Happy New Year.