Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F
gavluvsga
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Book #34: The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad



Number of pages: 224

A book about terrorism that feels very relevant to modern times, this tells the story of secret agent Mr. Verloc, who lives with his wife and her brother Stevie; Stevie is described as "simple-minded", and is evidently autistic.

The plot revolves around Verloc being assigned to detonate a bomb in Greenwich Park, and the plot revolves around the build-up to this and its aftermath.

I noticed that the story was told from several different points of view, including the police investigating the incident, and that it seems to jump around in the timeline a bit, with a few moments where it jumps forward to after the Greenwich bombing.

I read this book many years ago, but found it hard going; it does feel like a difficult book, but I got much more out of it on this reading. I liked the fact that all of the characters in the story were very sympathetic, and I was interested to see that there was no direct account of some big events in the plot, such as the bombing, which is told only through what the characters say about it.

I found the book increasingly enjoyable as I went on, and it did feel like a story way ahead of its time; the last few chapters were very gripping. The portrayal of Verloc's relationship with his wife and Stevie is very well-told, and ultimately very sad. This copy (published by Wordsworth) also had some useful notes by Hugh Epstein, Secretary of the Joseph Conrad Society of Great Britain.

Next book: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Tags: 19th century literature, autism, british, classic, post-modern, suspense, thriller
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