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Secret Agent (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Secret Agent

The story itself wasn't complicate at all, but the main charactor's psychological inner struggles make story exciting. Even though the author's mother's tongue was not English, his English vocabularies are limitless and very intelligent.

posted by Anonymous on February 6, 2000

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Floating lines and partial paragraphs

This comment is specific to the eBook version I recently received. There are a number of places where a line (or more) of text is missing. Other times, there is a portion of a paragraph inserted in a place where it clearly does not flow. The galley proof should be ch...
This comment is specific to the eBook version I recently received. There are a number of places where a line (or more) of text is missing. Other times, there is a portion of a paragraph inserted in a place where it clearly does not flow. The galley proof should be checked more carefully before production.

posted by GabryTK on July 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    A Catch-22 within Conrad's plot.

    A couple small critiques before I heap praise onto Conrad's The Secret Agent. First, Steven Marcus (the writer of the Introduction and Endnotes) appears to do too much work within this. Over 90 pages of introductory material that give away key plot points, it's best if it is skipped and then read afterwards, if you wish. The endnotes are also much more numerous than necessary; in fact, quite a few of them refer to knowledge that may be common to yourself. They also often refer back to the introduction, which suckers readers into perusing it for more information. Second, Conrad (to paraphrase a review found in the rear of the book) lengthens a short story. This is a novel that could easily be 70 pages long, if not for the over-descriptive text in-between conversations describing characters emotions hanging on every statement. But there is a catch-22. This is necessary, though not at the time. Conrad plays up simple conversations which enhances some foreshadowing by attempting to create dramatic tension in seemingly normal conversations. By doing so, he lengthens a story, which the reader realizes is running on far too long about half-way through it, when a simple two-minute conversation is stretched out over 20 or so pages through Conrad's flowery descriptions of the inner-workings of the character's minds. This is all annoying to the audience, but we find out it is necessary during the novel's climax, in which (avoiding spoilers while describing as best I can here) Conrad finally enchants us with the back-and-forth mind-readings of a psychological breakdown and the blissfully unaware victim. If Conrad does not prepare us properly for this descriptive scene, we are feeling that the climax is aggressively drawn out, and thus seems unreal. By stretching out the novel, he allows the plot to simmer slowly, instead of microwaving his soup. For readers who can afford to plow through intricately sowed fields of plot, the payoff is one that provides a couple of excellently played twists at the end. For those that are impatient, this novel is one they should pass up; but they do so at their own spoils.

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    Posted July 7, 2010

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    Posted November 16, 2008

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    Posted July 22, 2014

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    Posted April 15, 2012

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    Posted July 20, 2009

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