Showing posts from February, 2012

The Mirror of the Sea

With the quality of our desires, thoughts, and wonder proportioned to our infinite littleness, we measure even time itself by our own stature.The Mirror of the Sea is a fascinating work.  I was struck by several things--one, it is nonfic that reads like a novel; two, it is a very personal book; and three, the writing is pure art.

I'll admit, I'm biased.  As of the last year or so, Joseph Conrad (along with Hawthorne) has been the author I've most admired.  His thoughts and observations are profound in a perfectly down-to-earth way, without being too self-conscious or egotistic.  He never expects anything of the reader except their willingness to listen.  It is as if he understands, inherently, how to express his mind in the truest way, and convey it through, not beneath, the prose.

The Mirror of the Sea is, of course, about the sea.  Conrad alternates between personal anecdotes and deep, lengthy descriptions, with the frequent psychological aside.  It is a slow book, much li…