Tales of Unrest
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Two colonial officers extol the benefits they are bringing to an African village in the form of 'quays and warehouses, and barracks - and billiard-rooms'. A French republican who has fathered three idiot sons makes his peace with the Church, only to have an idiot daughter. A woman chooses not to leave her husband but he leaves her. Such are the ironies of Conrad's earliest short stories, which are not apprentice work but miniature masterpieces in their own right. As astoundingly original in construction as the great novels that were to come, these tales are in many ways more challenging and more disturbing still. A sense of human existence as surprising and often perplexing informs every part of this remarkable collection. Complex, arresting, and unsettling, these are indeed 'tales of unrest'.