Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

A ramble about Nostromo and the Supermob

Yeah, that Conrad novel is just called “Nostromo” and not, “The Nostromo”. “The Nostromo” is a ship, and “Nostromo” is a guy.

It looks like I’ll continue on with “Nostromo.” The first chapter was full of Conrad’s florid prose about the mythical South American island nation where the story takes place. That initially put me off the book. But in Chapter 2, things started to pick up.

The island where the story takes place has a calm, placid bay at one end, and sharp, jagged rocks leading out to sea on the other end. (I forget the name of the island, it’s similar to the name “Guadalajara”, in that there’s a bunch of the same vowel in a row interrupted by consonents, but the vowel in this case is the letter “o”. It’ll come to me.) Anyhoo, this island is home to a well run shipping company, the OSN – and Chapter 2 starts off with the citizens rioting for some reason, and the shipping company saving a bunch of people. There’s brief mention of this guy Nostromo during the riot, and how he would save people.

Chapter 3 continues in the same vein – except now we’re introduced to an island dweller, and his family, who are hiding in their house, trying to survive the riot. There’s plenty of mention of Nostromo, and how if *he* were there, they’d fight off these rioters and everything would be ok. 

I like the way the story is developing so far – this building up the myth of Nostromo before we meet him. A quick Google search tells me that Nostromo is Italian for boatswain, which is the long form of bosun – which I assume is like an ensign, except for boats. (Truth is, I’m not really sure what an ensign is either. I’m terrible with military names and ranks, etc…)

Also, Google tells me that the fictional island nation in the book is called Costaguana – which I think means “Coast of Bird Shit” – or wait, that’s guano. Yeah – Google goes on to tell me that Guana is part of the British virgin islands, so I’m assuming Costaguana is meant to imply that it’s a Caribbean nation. (Or an island that lies close to the equator – that is, it’s above the Southern tropic line.)

Anyhoo, I’ll continue on with Nostromo as my fiction novel.

The current non-fiction book I’m reading is called Supermob, by Gus Russo. It’s about this guy called Sidney Korshak, who started out as a lawyer for the Capone family crime syndicate, and then rose to be one of America’s great power brokers. This book is somewhat startling, in that it basically confirms what I’ve suspected all along about American politics: it’s crooked as all get out. This book is a non-stop tale about how the mob controlled the music business, Hollywood, American labour unions, politicians, vegas casinos, etc… Basically, any industry with deep pockets has been infiltrated by the mob. It’s shocking to realize just how entrenched the mafia is with everyday American life. The sad thing is, it’s only gotten worse, not better.

Oh well, enjoy the decline everybody!

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May 24, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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