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.