Chance by Joseph Conrad is A Tale in Two Parts first published in 1913. Chance is narrated by Conrad's regular narrator, Charles Marlow, but is characterised by a complex, nested narrative in which different narrators take up the story at different points and attempt to interpret various episodes in the life of Miss de Barral, the daughter of a convicted swindler named Smith de Barral (though this character is famous in the world of the novel as a criminal, he may, at least at first, have been merely an ...
Chance by Joseph Conrad is A Tale in Two Parts first published in 1913. Chance is narrated by Conrad's regular narrator, Charles Marlow, but is characterised by a complex, nested narrative in which different narrators take up the story at different points and attempt to interpret various episodes in the life of Miss de Barral, the daughter of a convicted swindler named Smith de Barral (though this character is famous in the world of the novel as a criminal, he may, at least at first, have been merely an incompetent banker). Miss de Barral leads a sheltered life while her father is prosperous, then must rely on the generosity of others, who resent her or have agendas for her, before she escapes by marrying one Captain Anthony. Much of the book involves the musing of the various narrators over what she and the Captain expected from this union, and what they actually got from it.
“I don’t see why I shouldn’t be as reckless as I please.” I was nettled by her brusque manner of asserting her folly, and I told her that neither did I as far as that went, in a tone which almost suggested that she was welcome to break her neck for all I cared. This was considerably more than I meant, but I don’t like rude girls. I had been introduced to her only the day before—at the round tea-table—and she had barely acknowledged the introduction. I had not caught her name but I had noticed her fine, arched eyebrows which, so the physiognomists say, are a sign of courage. I examined her appearance quietly. Her hair was nearly black, her eyes blue, deeply shaded by long dark eyelashes. …. I went on to say that some regard for others should stand in the way of one’s playing with danger. … Had she given occasion for a coroner’s inquest the verdict would have been suicide, with the implication of unhappy love. They would never be able to understand that she had taken the trouble to climb over two post-and-rail fences only for the fun of being reckless. … She retorted that once one was dead what horrid people thought of one did not matter. It was said with infinite contempt; but something like a suppressed quaver in the voice made me look at her again. I perceived then that her thick eyelashes were wet. Joseph Conrad’s inimitable narrator, Charles Marlow, is back, this time as the anchor of a number of narrators who give their impressions of the odyssey of Flora de Barral, Conrad’s only female protagonist, from cosseted vulnerability to individual strength.
From the author famous for seminal works like The Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent and Nostromo this novel is often left unmentioned within his repertoire of books. This is unfair. I would say Chance is Conrad's most beautiful story, the construction of the plot masterly from start to conclusion, and probably the only novel of his which genuinely leaves a good feeling and makes the reader smile. His handling of the material from Marlow the teller of the tale, the way the novels flits from pre
- A.G. Plumb
Take the Chance and read this wonderful novel October 9, 2001
By A. G. Plumb
I cannot believe that there are no customer reviews already for this spectacular novel - full of intruiging situations and wonderful characters - certainly the best Conrad female character I have read. Conrad is a wonderful writer in style and the manner in which he tells a yarn - how then has this novel become so 'lost'? It has wonderful lines ('Don't be in a hurry to thank me,' says he. 'T
Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; 3 December 1857 Berdichev, Ukraine – 3 August 1924) was a Polish novelist who wrote in English, after settling in England. Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties (and then always with a marked Polish accent). He wrote stories and novels, predominantly with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit by the demands of duty and honor. Conrad was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature. While some of his works have a strain of romanticism, he is viewed as a precursor of modernist literature. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors.