Under Western Eyes is a literary historical fiction novel by the Polish-British author Joseph Conrad. It was first published in 1911, and takes place in Russia and Switzerland. The story talks about a Russian student, Razumov, whose life changes dramatically when he allows a student who assassinated a public authority to hide in his place. Razumov becomes interlocked in a series of political troubles and moral dilemmas, especially as the revolution in Russia increases. Razumov becomes a spy in one of the events, and betrays someone who put his full trust on him in another event. The novel depicts the life of a man who faces moral and physical conflicts.
There are many views as to why Conrad wrote this story, or how he got inspired to write it. Some say that is was a reflection of what he grew up to find, for his father was a famous revolutionist who was imprisoned in Russia. Another opinion states that Conrad was giving his own point of view in a form of a novel for the famous book Crime and Punishment. Conrad's critics read the story two times, where their opinion changed in the second time about Conrad's perspective. The first time was after the failure of the Russian 1905 revolution, while the second one was after the Russian 1917 revolution.
Under Western Eyes is now regarded as one of the most wonderfully crafted pieces of literature. Most, if not all, of the readers positively review it. On Goodreads, it received a 3.7 out of a 5 star rating. The New York Times said on a review posted on its site: "A century ago, Conrad wrote about terrorism in The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes, novels that drew on European political turmoil to address deeper moral questions. Today, some of our most ambitious novelists are struggling to do the same thing."