Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad

"It is the privilege of early youth to live in advance of its days in all the beautiful continuity of hope which knows no pauses and no introspection"

In the past I've read some other Conrad novels and been relatively unmoved. This one, however, really struck a chord. Perhaps it is my love of boats and the sea or the age I am now which grants the perspective of being stuck in a listless ocean where prospects are increasingly diminished. This is a tale about the harshness of maturity and the understanding that the world is not all hope and fairy tales. That tenacity can deliver survival and yet survival can be another form of punishment. With such economy of verbiage it delivers with clinical precision and I would happily re-read this. Something, that is not typical for me.
Turning 40 is a little like being stuck in a becalmed sea with a crew riddled with Malaria. Ahead lie treacherous waters where things will never be the same and one can only look back on the aspirations of youth with nostalgia for times and hopes past.
Every time a little ray of hope dares to raise its head in the novel, something darker lurks and yet certain members of the crew draw everything out of their compatriots in a desperate attempt to reach their destination and survival against the odds.

I could almost taste the salt in the air and the smell of desperation below deck.

5 out of 5 definitely my favourite Joseph Conrad tale.

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