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  2. The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad
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So many pages are missing. Format: Paperback. This begins with venom, introduces characters with complexities and the language is just top notch.

I dare say of all the authors I have ever read, this author is probably if not the best, one of the best. His diction, control on language is simply outstanding. This definitely makes the book more difficult to read but its a welcome feature.


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What is the story? Its about a secret agent, it explains masterfully how society accepts the status quo without thinking twice and how the mind of a suicide bomber works. I must say there is a lot of confusion in this book, especially in the last quarter. You never really grow warm to the characters.

If only that was better, I'd like it a lot more.

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Also - the end was a bit random and unforseen. I didn't love that. But overall this book was a delight to read. Leaving three stars because the author is strong. The story was good but I felt it had its own quirks which bought the effect down a bit. Book is in good quality and the shipping was pretty quick. See all 6 reviews.


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Would you like to see more reviews about this item? Go to Amazon. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Audible Download Audio Books. After both of his parents died of tuberculosis, Conrad went to live with his uncle in Switzerland.

The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad

It is one of the best—and certainly the most significant—detective stories ever written. Conrad was also giving artistic expression to his domestic anxieties—his overweight wife and problem child, his lack of money, his inactivity, his discomfort in London, his uneasiness in English society, his sense of exile, of being an alien.


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The novel has the perverse logic and derangement of a dream. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer. Read An Excerpt. Stape Best Seller. Paperback —. Add to Cart.

The Secret Agent Summary | GradeSaver

A few anarchists hanging out in porn stores? Some suicide leaps off of ferry boats? Crooked cops? Published in , The Secret Agent is a story of terrorism, politics, social corruption, and reality TV-caliber family drama. It might be because Conrad is a bit of a Debbie Downer the understatement of the century but the novel didn't sell very well during his time: it probably hit too close to home. Since , though, The Secret Agent has risen to classic status, and is now taught in high schools and universities all around the world and holds the spot of 46 on Modern Library's Best Novels… ahead of Conrad's most popular work, Heart of Darkness.

In , Conrad wrote an Author's Foreword to The Secret Agent , in which he reveals that the book's plot is inspired by the "Greenwich Bomb Outrage" of February , which happened when a young anarchist named Martial Bourdin blew himself up in Greenwich Park after a bomb he was carrying exploded in his hands. In his foreword, Conrad refers to this incident as "a blood-stained inanity of so fatuous a kind that it was impossible to fathom its origin by any reasonable or even unreasonable process of thought.

Basically, the Greenwich Bomb Outrage filled even the uber-intelligent and uber-skeptical Conrad with questions about the world's capacity for reason and order…and he decided to ponder over the chaotic universe and its nuts-o inhabitants in The Secret Agent. In this book, the cynical genius of Joseph Conrad pits cartoonishly unlikeable anarchists and left-wing radicals who talk a big game without ever actually doing anything against police officers who just love the thrill of their job and consider criminals to be a totally natural—and even necessary—part of society.

The Secret Agent

Hey, no one has ever accused Conrad of telling people what they want to hear. Conrad lived during a time when many people were talking about how awesome modern society was, while others—like anarchists, Marxists, and left-wing revolutionaries—were shouting that society in general had to be blown up so we could start over and get it right. Frankly, Conrad could never fully get behind either side of this debate, and you can see this in the way he pokes fun at both the police and the anarchists in The Secret Agent. Among all the spy games and explosions, though, The Secret Agent is, at its heart, a family drama.

The book's title character, Mr. Verloc, definitely seems to like his wife Winnie, who in turn seems to think about nothing beyond the safety of her brother, the mentally disabled Stevie.