Review: Heart of Darkness

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.

  My edition:  Paperback published in 2010 by Collins Classics.
My edition: Paperback published in 2010 by Collins Classics.

2 respuestas a “Review: Heart of Darkness”

  1. I read this book for school about a year ago, I hated it! I didn’t enjoy it at all. There was a huge debate in class as to whether the text was racist or not. We had to read an excerpt from Chinua Achebe and his thoughts on the work. This led to an even larger discussion on why Achebe would feel the way that he did. I simply didn’t enjoy the text. I found it a struggle to get through and quite boring. I think it is one of those controversial reads that either you love it or you don’t. I haven’t come across anyone who simply thought it was okay. I think if I recommended this book it would be simply to see the other person’s reaction to the text.

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    • You’re probably right. It was on our reading list for university, but we haven’t discussed it yet. I’m curious to see what the outcome of that discussion is.Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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