Didion adored Joseph Conrad as a writer, and she read Victory every time she embarked on a new writing project. And here's what she had to say about her favourite hero in fiction:
"Axel Heyst in Joseph Conrad’s Victory has always attracted me as a character. Standing out on that dock in, I think (I may be wrong, because I have no memory), Sumatra. His great venture, the Tropical Belt Coal Company, gone to ruin behind him. And then he does something so impossibly brave that he can only be doing it because he has passed entirely beyond concern for himself."