Monday, May 13, 2013

The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad

"While I lingered yet, my hand resting lightly on my ship's rail as if on the shoulder of a trusted friend. But, with all that multitude of celestial bodies staring down at one, the comfort of quiet communion with her was gone for good."

The Secret Sharer is a popular early 20th century novel written by author Joseph Conrad. The story taking place at sea, is told from the perspective of a young sea captain. Not knowing his crew ahead of time except for the previous night, he struggles to see if he can life up to the authority role that is a must among captains. The Secret Sharer is a an excellent book for those who are interested in novels dealing with the sea and also those who are fans of the writings of Joseph Conrad.

My take: 3 looks
Not a novel at all, at 62 pages, or even a novella. I would classify this as a short story. A weird little short story. Basically, there is another sailor rescued by the captain in the middle of the night. This man committed murder aboard his ship, and swam (naked, may I add) for his life afterward. The captain of our ship finds him and decides to keep him a secret.

The interesting question in this story is whether or not there is actually another person. The captain speaks repeatedly of their resemblance, stating several times that looking at this man is like looking in the mirror. The captain's actions and communications also seem to be odd and noticable by both the first and second mates, raising additional questions about his mental stability. He turns out to be a very unreliable narrator, and the reader is left with more than a few questions once the stowaway disembarks.


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