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Almayer's Folly: A Story of an Eastern River

Almayer's Folly: A Story of an Eastern River

3.3 3
by Joseph Conrad

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Almayer’s Folly, Joseph Conrad’s first novel, is a tale of personal tragedy as well as a broader meditation on the evils of colonialism. Set in the lush jungle of Borneo in the late 1800s, it tells of the Dutch merchant Kaspar Almayer, whose dreams of riches for his beloved daughter, Nina, collapse under the weight of his own greed and prejudice.

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Almayer's Folly: A Story of an Eastern River 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
comett More than 1 year ago
ALMAYER'S FOLLY (1895), the first of numerous Joseph Conrad novels, sets the mood for things to come. The novel's central character, Almayer, a Dutch colonial, born in Java, has existed in Malaya for twenty-odd years as a trader. Failed venture has followed failed venture with darkness and futility being predominant themes. To add insult to injury, Almayer is despised and browbeaten by his angry Malay wife, but somehow manages to persevere, thanks largely to his belief that Malay's interior is replete with gold. He believes his dream of striking it rich will enable him to spirit his beautiful half-Malay daughter Nina to Europe where both of them will live in a lap of luxury. But even this is potentially problematic given Nina's involvement with Dain, her Malay lover and the man tasked by Almayer to find the riches hidden in the Malay interior. Most characters in this novel, including Almayer and his Arab nemesis, Lakamba, are flawed. Ends justify the means and nobody seems to have any scruples when it comes to enriching themselves or enhancing their positions at the expense of others. And none of this is helped by the distrust and dislike that Europeans, Arabs, and Malays harbour towards each other. Indeed, this all pervasive racism spares nobody and adds to the general air of foreboding. Furthermore, any reader anticipating an exotic and/or romantic setting is sure to be disappointed. Instead, Almayer's house is in a woeful state of disrepair and we read about lizards, uprooted rotting trees, monsoons, and a muddy river that is overflowing. In essence, ALMAYER'S FOLLY is a depressing read, although Conrad's portrayal of human nature's dark side is, unfortunately enough, all too accurate. But while evil, avarice, greed, and exploitation are very real, it is equally true that many are highly virtuous and have accomplished a great deal of good. Sadly, these virtues and characters are missing in this novel. In summing up, those who appreciate novels giving voice to the dark side of the human condition will appreciate this book. But ALMAYER'S FOLLY is not recommended for those who enjoy uplifting stories with happy endings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago