Heart of Darkness (1899) is a short novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow's life as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central Africa. The river is "a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land". In the course of his travel in central Africa, Marlow becomes obsessed with Mr. Kurtz.
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An Interesting and (Fairly) Quick Read
I was asked to read this book in college, so of course I didn’t at the time, but have been revisiting some of those books I wish I had had the time to give the proper attention to back then. (They’re classics for a reason).
Now, having more time to spare, I decided to revisit this one. First an foremost, any fan of the film “Apocalypse Now” should read this but hopefully I don’t need to state that.
The story itself is engaging and heavy at times when the language is outdated and there is not much going on action-wise. Due to the subject and time period at hand, there are some obviously offensively racist passages but when viewed in the proper light, they are a glimpse into that time and a reminder of the horrible atrocities of the colonization and subsequent dismantling of African countries for their natural resources. The main character & story teller, Marlow, is kind of ambiguous in everything. It seems he is not “on the side of” Africans but he does not treat them quite as poorly as most other characters. It is clear that he does not have the same fanatical admiration of Kurtz that many others do but he is fascinated by him in a different way. I felt myself slightly frustrated by much of this, although admittedly, perhaps his repeatedly calling Kurtz “remarkable” was meant to have deeper meaning attached than I attributed to it. Maybe a more scholarly approach to this book is the right one to take.
All in all, this will probably not be the most interesting thing you’ll read for most people but it’s not long and there are moments that are surely worth the time and effort to spend reading it.
A true classic
Forget Jane Austin, this a truly great classic piece of literature! To all those who rated it poorly, well your going have to use that brain, it has a lot hidden elements to it. It also takes some time to get into it... But the time is worth it! It's not like reading twilight, you have to actually think a little and maybe do some research, I know shocking. Ppl did more of that back then...
Best book ever. But tough
This is easily one one of the best books ever written and one I've read. But is also one of the hardest to read. There are layers of underlying themes, allusions, and every possible literary goodness. It's hard to understand at times but it's worth it.