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Download The Shadow-Line: A Confession Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Shadow-Line: A Confession, by Joseph Conrad Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (898 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph Conrad Narrator: William Sutherland Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Written at the start of the Great War, when his son Borys was at the Western Front, The Shadow-Line is Conrad’s supreme effort to open man’s eyes to the meaning of war through the stimulus of art. In many ways an autobiographical narrative, this masterpiece relates the story of a young and inexperienced sea captain whose first command finds him with a ship becalmed in tropical seas and a crew smitten with fever. As he wrestles with his conscience and with the sense of isolation that his position imposes, the captain crosses the “shadow-line” between youth and adulthood.

The qualities needed to confront the ship’s crisis symbolize the very qualities needed by humanity, not only to face evil and destruction, but also to come to terms with life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “About The Shadow-Line there is an extraordinary atmosphere of beauty…It is a beauty deeper than mere words go…There is something complete, something almost sculptural, about it.”

    New York Times

  • “Williams’ mature, gravelly voice carries all the weight of age and experience as surely as if the graying Conrad himself were, years later, telling the tale of his own first command. It is a harrowing but heartwarming story read with the wizened dignity that only an older reader can create.”


  • “Williams’ narration is almost elegiac in pacing and tone. His reading reflects not a young, impatient character but one who has seen evil in the world and recognizes human weaknesses. Although the young captain is often impetuous, Williams’ retrospective tone gives the character’s voice a moral weight, reflective of his growing maturity.”


  • The Shadow-Line, in its simple plot and unmediated narrative, is a sharp…departure from Conrad’s earlier more celebrated work. In many ways, however, it is also a return: a return to the sea, that testing ground of the soul, and a return to the virtues that arise and flourish.”

    Modernism Lab at Yale University

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Darkwood | 1/29/2014

    " I don't know what I would have thought about this book if I had read it when I was young, but as a mature reader I thought it was profound. If you've ever suffered the doldrums under sail this beautifully written little book will bring it all back to you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Libyrinths | 1/27/2014

    " Very nice autobiographical novella from one of my favorite authors about the moment one realizes one has grown up. I was in the mood for a sea tale, but got much more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Thirteenth Peer | 1/26/2014

    " A nice tale but it lacks the depth and interest of the other Conrad stories I've read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tom | 1/21/2014

    " Another one of Conrad's Great short novels! His mastery of the English language continually amazes and delights me. He is able to paint a picture of a man with precise detail in a just a few words as in the phrase "He was a confirmed dyspeptic." Conrad must be exposing his own thoughts, feelings and recollections as a seaman in the Gulf of Thailand as he portrays the character and actions of "the young captain" who he never names. He is obviously deeply connected with the characters and circumstances. "

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