Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

Book - 1993
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d
downsman
Jan 10, 2019

One of my favourite books to read and to teach. When I first read it umpteen years ago I found it hard work, but I've since realised that that is the point, really. You have to read it slowly, reread parts of it, digest it. Put it into context. And also note what we are told in the book of the internal narrator Marlow's tales, that they are not straightforward in meaning. That applies to the text as a whole. Read it and absorb it all, and you will be amply rewarded. If you want something to read quickly for fun, look elsewhere, folks.

j
jacekwalkowicz
Oct 15, 2018

a pleasant journey into the depth of wild +++

How the author could put that story together is a mystery.

a
Andrew Kyle Bacon
May 17, 2018

Am I glad to be done with this awful book.

To be clear, I enjoy classics. I'm big fan of The Idiot and Dracula, and I read quite a bit and usually very quickly. But this book took me a long time considering its rather short length, and it was a snooze. The prose is so thick as to be impenetrable. There is only ever so much useless, pointless pontification which I can take in with my two eyes before the superfluous excess of verbiage overwhelms my senses reducing me to an aching pile of why the crap am I reading this?

DPLnate Apr 04, 2018

And this also,” said Marlow out of nowhere, “has been one of the darkest places of the earth.” Vivid, hallucinatory, haunting.

r
rslars001
Feb 01, 2018

This story was quite a different storyline than I had ever read before; The underlying messages and plot were not obvious, and certain scenes and phrases really made you think. This is a very challenging book, and I would not recommend letting young children attempt it, on account of gross themes such as cannibalism, and the very classic literary language most children would probably not understand. But, if you are in your teens or adulthood and can handle harder words, then I would definitely recommend this! The story is very exciting, and the characters are very in depth and interesting to read about.

Oberösterreich99 Jan 18, 2018

However much I enjoyed the book, it seemed the underlying messages and themes were more important than the actual characters and their actions. I understood that Kurtz was corrupted by the jungle and reverted to its barbarism, whereas he was once idealistic and had great ambitions, but I felt that the actual extent of his evil was poorly exemplified. By this I mean, the spikes or the personal cult, not the treatment of the natives, which was seen as correct in that time. Although that may just be my reading of the book. Otherwise, the themes were profound and the image painted of imperialism conveys just what it did to the native inhabitants and the people bequeathed with the 'white mans burden'.

q
Quidnuncle
Jun 12, 2017

Conrads semi-autobiographical novel is a must read. Although I t's a compelling, surreal story about African conquest, the true heart of darkness is that which resides within man. Read it then treat yourself to Apocalypse Now (redacted version). Even if you think you know the movie, you'll understand it very differently after this book.

p
patch666
Mar 22, 2017

One of 2 or 3 of my favorite books of all time . Have read it over and over since the ,8th grade. TRULY CLASSIC

r
RoyalJellyIII
Mar 06, 2017

For everyone that is not familiar with this classic you may know the adaptation into film " Apocalypse Now ". Originally published in 1902 as a novella Conrad uses the story as a critique of imperialism. "Heart of Darkness" can either be read as an adventure story of a young man's exploits in a foreign mysterious continent or a physiological thriller of another man's descent into madness.

ArapahoeMaryA Feb 09, 2017

Conrad underscores the premise that western civilization is driven by the need to dominate others. He also makes the point that all humans have the capacity for evil. This is one of the classics that many of us had to read for high school English. While I did not consider it an enjoyable read, I must say it was memorable.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Sep 08, 2016

Do not read this novel as a story – if you do, you will end up horribly uninterested and miss the remarkable true nature of this masterpiece: read this as an essay. There is a side serving of adventure to this story, but ultimately it is an essay about the human psyche, character development, and how deep the sorrow of a human’s heart can be. If you don’t enjoy words, don’t read this book. If you are going to read this book, know that European Colonialism, and all the benefits and horrors along with it (including truly awful racism) were in full swing, but discounting the themes discussed because of the racist undertones (or even overtones) would be a disservice to yourself if you do choose to read this book.
- @FalcoLombardi of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

g
Greisi
Apr 21, 2016

Unless you're being forced to read this for a class, stay as far away from it as possible. There was no point to this story, after reading a page I couldn't tell you what happened on that page, so it comes as no surprise that can't tell you anything about this book.

f
Folly
Dec 20, 2014

A wonderful book, older style of writing.

m
mclarjh
Jun 04, 2014

My rating is for the illustrations, not the text.

multcolib_susannel May 28, 2014

Where IS the 'heart of darkness'-in the jungle or in your soul? Inspiration for the movie Apocalypse Now .

suzie367 May 28, 2013

This format does not include any paragraphs, often has blank pages, marks with a number within the text each time a page number advances, and worst of all... there is a huge section that is out of order!! Incredibly discombobulating and hard to read.

b
britprincess1
May 21, 2013

Awful. I read this book when I was studying postcolonialism in literature, but I would never have gotten through it otherwise. It is just awful. This novella proves that it really doesn't matter how short a book is; it can sometimes be even harder to read as a longer but better book.

abkeller Nov 22, 2012

This is the horrific tale of Marlow, a British seaman who traveled to Africa for the Company, but narrowly escaped death. On the distant foreign continent, the division between white men and the natives was acute. Even in the blistering heat, some of the transplanted Englishmen sternly clung to their civilized ways, sporting pristine white long sleeved shirts and elaborately tied ties, while the natives peered from the thick undergrowth with startlingly white eyes.

Here, the jungle was so green, it was almost black. The heat and danger were oppressive and the needs of the colonists woefully misunderstood back in England. Often, the Company showered them with copper wire and cheap beads meant to impress the natives, when what they really needed was rivets to patch up a leaky steamboat.

The power struggle within the Company left Marlow out of touch and forgotten in the vast wilderness. Suddenly, he realized just how alone he truly was.

In time, Marlow came to meet Kurtz, the mysterious agent with supposedly supernatural powers. Kurtz was a “wizard” of sorts. He dealt with the African natives with effortless ease, seemingly as at home in the bush as in a London parlor. Yet, when Marlow found Kurtz, he was very ill, a prisoner among the natives, a captive of the circumstances and the life he’d been forced to endure.

How many of us walk a similar road in our lives? How thin are the trappings of civilization and how fragile life is! For those of us who realize our frailty comes the truth of self-knowledge and a rare wisdom worthy of the ages.

filmguy86 Jun 14, 2012

As estimated by the review in the back of the book, it took me 7 to 8 hours to read this tiny novella (dictionary time included). The stream of consciousness was hard to follow at times, but with some focus, it surely added to a feeling of intoxication. "The Heart of Darkness" left me morally vulnerable, apt to reflect on my thoughts. I recommend that readers also try "Season of Migration to the North," which follows the story of an African man who travels to England.

Grace_Kalman Apr 06, 2012

Gack. Gack again. When you put down a book, it shouldn't be that hard to find your place again. You should be able to remember the parts you read, and parts you haven't read shouldn't seem familiar. The symbolism wasn't even that impressive. All in all, it was confusing, overly wordy, and depressing.
And lest you think me a philistine, I have read and enjoyed Jane Eyre, Les Miserables, Crime and Punishment, and All Quiet on the Western Front. But this was awful.

n
Noson
Feb 28, 2011

This surely must be one of the great works of fictional imagination... a story within a story, full of false optimism. Written at a time when deep doubts about who is really civilized were rising to the surface of European life. Beautifully written and paced, with the haunting inner voice of Marlow not soon forgotten.

m
mbazal
Jul 24, 2010

Such a scary horror story. It took me a few tries to understand this book fully.


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