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Publisher's Summary

Set in Malaya, Almayer's Folly is Joseph Conrad's first novel. In it, he charts the decline of a Dutch merchant after a 25-year struggle against overwhelming odds. Though married to a bitter and hateful Malayan wife, Almayer refuses to accept the financial ruin which he has precipitated. Instead, he dreams of fantastic wealth and a return to the civilization of his youth, accompanied by his loving daughter, Nina. But when Nina turns away from his elusive fantasies to the stark reality of her native lover, Almayer must face his inevitable destruction.
(P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 04-13-13

Obsession, alienation, failure and forgetting.

Not my favorite Conrad, not even second tier, but it is still worth the listen. This was Conrad's debut novel and you can see flashes of his big themes (not yet mature) swirling in the deep water of his words.

'Almayer's Folly' reminded me of a gloomy, obsessive Melville novella or an alienated E. M. Forester story. It is one of those novels that if you love Conrad, you will want to read eventually (I'd read Heart of Darkness, Nostromo, Lord Jim, and Typhoon first). If your only exposure to Conrad is 'Heart of Darkness' and you aren't quite sure you liked that ... I'd skip this one.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Heimo
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • 06-22-10

fantastic

it is hard to imagine this as a first novel of any writer. i enjoyed it so much. the reader is very professional. he reads a bit fast, and it took me a few minutes to catch up with him. in the beginning of the book you see Almayer waiting for someone, and then the book goes back in time to give background information. it lags a bit there, but that does not last long and then the book moves forward. so much love, so much hatred in such a short novel. the main character is a man, but the book is really about three women and what they do for love.

the book is not as verbose as something like The Heart of Darkness, nor as filled with metaphor or what you might call "artistic touches". it is a pretty straight forward story set in a dark world. it is amazing how he can create those dark worlds. the entire book has a kind of darkness spread out over it, yet it was not in the least depressing. it was a great read and i will listen to it again, probably many times.

somewhere in the middle of the book is a description of a young slave woman. conrad s compassion and understanding of her emotions and her ignorance is astounding. i had to listen to it again before moving on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 02-23-10

Dark and stimulating

This was Joseph Conrad's first published book and it bears many of the hallmarks of his later fiction: alienation of European man in the East; the unbridgeable racial and cultural divides; the calsh between illusion and reality; and the brooding backdrop of the jungle and the sea. Not a happy book, but a powerful read: another chance to marvel at the fluency and power of Conrad's prose. I enjoyed it but then Conrad is possibly my favourite classical author! Well narrated too. If you do like this book, try "Lord Jim", "Nostromo" and "Heart of Darkness".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful