Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

  • Location:
  • Mood:
  • Music:

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

  • Book #14: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book opens with the heroine, Margaret Hale, being uprooted from her idyllic…

  • January 2021 - Books 1 to 6

    1. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny Inspector Gamache is now retired in Three Pines when he’s recruited to help one of his friends find her…

  • December 2020 - Books 71 to 76

    71. Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park A young mixed-race girl moves with her widowed father to a fledgling South Dakota town in 1880. This is the…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded