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The Secret Sharer, based on an actual accident at sea, is an exciting adventure tale that reveals truths about human nature on several levels. Albert J. Guerard of Stanford University wrote that these two stories are "among the finest of Conrad''s short novels, and among the half-dozen greatest short novels in the English language." And Virginia Woolf wrote of Conrad, "His books are full of moments of vision. They light up a whole character in a flash. . . .He could not write badly, one feels, to save his life."