A Personal Record is a "fragment of biography", an autobiographical work by Joseph Conrad, published in 1912. It is also a masterpiece of atmospheric writing and the main contemporary source to detail his early life. Conrad, Polish by birth, who goes on to become one of the greatest novelists of the English language, describes his childhood and adolescence, discusses his forebears, one of whom fought on the side of Napoleon and ate a Lithuanian dog, the exile of his parents, the death of his mother and his relationship with his Uncle Tadeusz.
He takes us to the Alps with his tutor, to Marseilles with the pilots, to the freezing fog-bound docks of Rouen with his battered manuscript of Almayer’s Folly. But Conrad has an overriding object: this memoir beautifully interweaves the tales of why he went to sea and how he came to be a writer. Its digressive structure is precisely what makes it a magical and timeless work about exile, destiny, and art. It is read by Greg Wagland.
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- Hans Thorkelson
The musings of a master, masterfully read
I admit that I admire Conrad’s approach to writing about the mysteries of human life, and certainly that influences my rating of the story. He writes as closely as his art will allow to revealing the truth about us without resorting to mysticism. The same could be said of his treatment of this personal account of his history, writing, and influences. The seemingly rambling nature of this book, interspersed with impressions, personalities and digressions, belie an unsparing but deeply satisfying look at creativity and what it means to belong.
The fine reader, Greg Wagland, brings Conrad’s voice and personality to life.
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