Classic Literature Book Review

Lord Jim

by Joseph Conrad
Reviewed date: 2023 Jul 26
Rating: 1
384 pages
cover art

Excessively romantic. Not recommended.

Charles Marlow is an insufferable narrator, and Conrad uses him to tell the story in a round-about aggravating way, always beating around the bush of known facts—that is, facts known to the supposed audience but not to the reader. Conrad/Marlow measures out tidbits of important plot points sparingly. I don't appreciate it.

As for 'Lord' Jim himself, he is despicable. Immature, self-absorbed, egotistical. Jim's adolescent head is filled with thoughts of bravery on the high seas, and when the reality doesn't match his fantasy, he's not man enough to face it. He retreats, retreats, retreats. Always runs away. In the end he has not changed a bit. This is no hero's arc. It is not a bildungsroman. Jim never grows, never comes to an awareness of his essential selfishness. He never recognizes the character flaws in himself. I despise Jim—and I despise Conrad and Marlow for taking an interminable time telling me about Jim.

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