#8. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

Book: Heart of Darkness , by Joseph Conrad

Genre: Classic fiction

Where I got it: Audio download from http://www.booksshouldbefree.com

Length: 4 hours 38 mins playing time

Briefly, it’s a narrative about a journey up an unnamed river in an unnamed African country, generally understood to be the Congo River when that area was claimed as the Belgian Congo.  The story considers the relationship between coloniser and “native”, the effects of greed and brutality, and how we all chase after dreams.

Comments: This was hard going.  I’m not a lover of the sea, or boats, or of fiction about boats and ships, seas and rivers.  But apart from that, the story just didn’t engage me at all. It was only about half-way through, when the Africans launch an attack on the boat, that it became anyway interesting – and that bit of liveliness didn’t last for long.  I never could fathom why Marlowe was so fascinated by Mr Kurtz, who seemed a total jerk from the outset.  The narrative was hard to follow, boring, obscure in some places, and very obvious in others.  But at least I persevered, and now it’s no longer on my TBR list!

Challenges: Back to the Classics Challenge, for the category A Nineteenth Century Classic (1899); Audiobooks challenge.

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6 thoughts on “#8. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

  1. I read this back in high school and can barely remember a thing about it, except, “Mistah Kurtz, he dead.” We also read The Secret Sharer and I remember liking that one much better. Thanks for linking your review to the Back to the Classics Challenge!

  2. Oh dear, this was the second book I was going to choose for the Back to the Classics challenge. I too am not a fan of stories about the sea, but I figured that lots of people must like it for a reason. Maybe I will move it back down the TBR pile!

  3. Like Karen K., I read this in high school and the quote she put in her comment is the only thing I remember from the book – that and a fellow student (I don’t remember his name) loved the story because supposedly the movie “Apocalypse Now” was based on it. Never bothered watching the movie as a result.
    -Dale

  4. Like everyone else, I read this in high school and thus far haven’t been moved to reread it, though I have noticed that I do like a lot of these standard curriculum books better as an adult than I did as a teenager.

    It’s too bad you didn’t care for it, especially as there are so many utterly fantastic 19th century classics to choose from!

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