Sometimes I wonder why I even bother making plans for my blog posts if life will prevent me from writing on time anyway.
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
Charles Marlow, the captain of a steamboat during Imperialist Europe, travels to the African Congo in search for Mr Kurtz, a feared and well-known ivory trader. Marlow’s trip isn’t only physical, but also psychological, as every situation and every problem he encounters forces him to reflect on people, nature, society, morals and the empire.
This book, with only 100 pages, is one of the shortest ones I’ve read all year. It’s one of those books that you must read if you want to call yourself literature lover. It’s a trip to the mind of a man at the center of the empire, and a reflection on the situation of the time he lived in.
I’ve never had issues with books that have virtually no plot and a lot of thoughts and introspection. Books such as Mrs Dalloway and Ulysses, I’ve enjoyed a lot. Actually, Joyce has spent the last few weeks knocking on the back of my head telling me to read another one of his works. Those books belong to modernism, but as you know, the Victorian period is one of my favorite literary periods. Still, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness didn’t do it for me.
Don’t get me wrong, the novel has brilliant elements: the story is told through the eyes of Marlow, but he’s not the narrator. The narrator is another character who is only sitting and listening to what Marlow’s telling. It’s almost as if the reader were inside the story, listening to the what’s being told. The novel’s full of symbolism and metaphors that hide underneath a text that seems easy to understand; the title, Heart of Darkness, is in itself a big metaphor.
I can’t tell you exactly why I didn’t like it, but I can tell you that it seemed kind of slow, and it dragged a little from time to time.
I recommend it for the role that it plays within the story of literature, because of what it represents and exposes, and for those sentences that made me nod with satisfaction from time to time. Who knows? Maybe you’ll love it.