“Nostromo” by Joseph Conrad

After Heart of Dark­ness I thought I’d try anoth­er book by Con­rad. The choice was made easy by the Wikipedia entry for Nos­tro­mo, which quotes F. Scott Fitzger­ald as say­ing “I’d rather have writ­ten Nos­tro­mo than any oth­er nov­el.”

Six weeks lat­er, and I’m only a quar­ter of the way through. I’m drop­ping this book. I won’t say that the book’s first quar­ter is com­plete­ly unin­ter­est­ing. Its pic­ture of a trou­bled South Amer­i­ca coun­try and the way its internationally-focused upper class tries to act as a reform move­ment drew me in, but only so far. At this point the nov­el is still just a thinly-cloaked his­to­ry les­son with broadly-drawn car­i­ca­tures that have failed to become char­ac­ters.

Let me be hon­est: I want some dra­ma. I want some­one to betray the emo­tion­al expec­ta­tions of their assigned role. Can’t some­body (any­body?!) kiss the wrong lips, betray the wrong fight­er, or at least have a cri­sis of faith in their God, life’s work, or pol­i­tics?

I do believe the action gets sauci­er lat­er on. But I’m too con­fused by the polit­i­cal actors of Costagua­na (“who’s Avel­li­nos again?”) to care. I can check the Wikipedia pages on Venezuela and Colom­bia to see how the polit­cal dra­ma plays out. What­ev­er per­son­al dra­ma there is will have to be Fitzgerald’s.