Heart of Darkness Author:Joseph Conrad First published in 1902, Conrad's story describes intensely and in stark detail how greed can so easily drive civilised and enlightened men to revert to primitive savagery. Set against the background of the European ivory trade in Africa, Heart Of Darkness is narrator Marlow's account of his journey in search of the legendary and mystical Kurtz,... more » the most successful trader of them all, who is now reported to be ill. Marlow's quest becomes both a harrowing journey of self-discovery and haunting description of the brutality of colonial exploitation; while Kurtz himself is one of the most memorable creations in modern fiction.« less
This novella tells the story of Marlow, a man commissioned to bring back Kurtz from the "heart of darkness" that was the African jungle. Marlow becomes fascinated with the stories of Kurtz and longs to discover why Kurtz retains a hold on the hearts and minds of those who know him. I'd like to refer to this as a "vitamin" or "medicine" book. It's good for me, but it doesn't mean that I enjoyed the process. This was the type of book that I can appreciate for what it represents... a struggle between light and dark, the natural world versus civilization, colonized people versus the imperialists, etc. you get the picture. However, it was a struggle for me to get into and read. I'm not really too certain why. It reminds me of how I felt after reading "The Old Man and the Sea"- I understand why it was written and can appreciate the message, but I didn't like reading it.
Heart of Darkness is my favorite classic book. I loved the unveiling of the terror of the ivory coast to the naive Englishman who went to see what the shipping company was really about. Kurtz's last line "the horror, the horror" will stay with me forever.
Stay away from this book! Perhaps because of the time in which it was written, you'll need a dictionary to decipher practically every sentence. I had to look up literally at least one word per page, often many more. The story (because of this?) did not flow and seemed to digress more often than not. (What is it with men writing nautical journey stories and digression? Melville's _Moby Dick_, Simmons' _The Terror_?)
I know it's a classic, but honestly, save yourself the four weeks of your life and watch "Apocalypse Now" instead; it's the same thing.
I had to read this for a college literature class and it was a horrible read in my opinion... short book but took me a long time to understand what he was actually saying. I found myself drifting off and thinking about something else while reading this then having to go back and reread. After the professor explained to us what was actually going on it was more enjoyable but still difficult to read.