The first novel of Conrad's impressive list of works, "Almayer's Folly" revolves around the Dutch trader Kaspar Almayer and his life in the Borneo jungles in the late 19th century. Spurred by his desire for riches, he marries the adopted Malayan daughter of Captain Lingard, an affluent man who then requires Almayer to run his trading post in Sambir, in the Borneo jungles. While his chances of inheriting Lingard's wealth have increased, Almayer is now trapped in a loveless marriage. This soon seems a useless commitment, however, for Lingard begins losing his fortune in a futile treasure hunt. Between his failing trading endeavors and the resentful actions of his wife, the one bright aspect of Almayer's life is his daughter Nina, who comes to create a strong conflict of interests for her father. When a Malay prince named Dain arrives in Sambir, Almayer must decide if he cares for money and self-recovery more than his aspirations for his only child. A well-crafted story full of realistic colonialism, harrowing treachery, and maddening isolation, Conrad's novel captures the tragic ambiance unique to the jungles of Borneo just as completely as the psychological struggle of a father full of greed.
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Published July 1, 2004
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