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View Poll Results: 1901-1920 Run-Off • May 2014, Single Choice
Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad, 1911 8 57.14%
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, 1915 6 42.86%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-10-2014, 07:03 AM   #1
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1901-1920 Run-Off • May 2014

Help us choose the May 2014 selection to read for the MR Literary Club! The run-off poll will be open for one day.

The run-off vote is single-choice. A discussion thread will begin shortly after a winner is chosen.

In the event of a tie, the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its initial nominations first.


Select from the following works:


Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad, 1911
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Political turmoil convulses 19th-century Russia, as Razumov, a young student preparing for a career in the czarist bureaucracy, unwittingly becomes embroiled in the assassination of a public official. Asked to spy on the family of the assassin— his close friend — he must come to terms with timeless questions of accountability and human integrity.


From Wikipedia:

Under Western Eyes (1911) is a novel by Joseph Conrad. The novel takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, and is viewed as Conrad's response to the themes explored in Crime and Punishment; Conrad was reputed to have detested Dostoevsky. It is also, some say, Conrad's response to his own early life; his father was a famous revolutionary imprisoned by the Russians, but, instead of following in his father's footsteps, at the age of sixteen Conrad left his native land forever. Indeed, while writing Under Western Eyes, Conrad suffered a weeks-long breakdown during which he conversed with the novel's characters in Polish.

This novel is considered to be one of Conrad's major works and is close in subject matter to The Secret Agent. It is full of cynicism and conflict about the historical failures of revolutionary movements and ideals. Conrad remarks in this book, as well as others, on the irrationality of life, the opacity of character, the unfairness with which suffering is inflicted upon the innocent and poor, and the careless disregard for the lives of those with whom we share existence.

His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors, including D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Gerald Basil Edwards, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry, William Golding, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, J. G. Ballard, John le Carré, V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, Hunter S. Thompson, J. M. Coetzee and Salman Rushdie.


Available at the MR Library - EPUB of the complete works of Joseph Conrad (uploaded by pynch)


The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, 1915
Spoiler:
The Thirty-Nine Steps is an adventure novel by the Scottish author John Buchan. It first appeared as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine in August and September 1915 before being published in book form in October that year by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh. It is the first of five novels featuring Richard Hannay, an all-action hero with a stiff upper lip and a miraculous knack for getting himself out of sticky situations.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:15 AM   #2
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Thanks sun surfer! Conrad got my vote.
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:59 PM   #3
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Buchan.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:31 PM   #4
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Decided to be selfish and vote for Buchan. Will be happy with either though.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:59 AM   #5
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Glad to hear that Caleb. Well, I must say I am delighted, as although I enjoy a rip-roaring adventure as much as the next person, I think Conrad is likely to have a bit more profundity.

I am also uncomfortable with the casual racism and bigotry I remember from the Buchan. Of its time I know, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable. (Hope I don't find it in Conrad also!)
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