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Heart of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Publisher: Knopf Everyman’s Library Published In: New York City, NY, USA Date: 1902/1967/1993 Pgs: 110 REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS Summary: Marlow on a journey into the Congo works a riverboat for a Belgian company trading upriver. His travelogue shows the company up as imperial in its attitudes and actions toward the natives. The ivory must flow. The Congo must pay for herself and swell the coffers of her European masters. How it is done doesn’t matter. It only matters that it is done. Genre: fiction, the classics, africa, colonialism Why this book: It was next to another book that I was looking at...and it jumped into my cart and came home with me. This Story is About: questing for a chimera, the failure of that most wanted to live up to expectations built up in the quester’s eyes/mind. Favorite Character: The exposition kept me from becoming attached to any of these characters. Least Favorite Character: Kurtz. He comes across through the exposition of the other characters as a modern cult leader. One wonders if this story and the character of Kurtz was an inspiration to the likes of Jim Jones in Jonestown. Character I Most Identified With: We’re supposed to identify with Marlow, to see him as us questing for a goal, but the attachment doesn’t communicate. The Feel: The early part of the book when the narrator is describing the meeting of Marlow with his compatriots is very much a portrait of the book’s age. The descriptions of the Thames and London and their reaching backward through time is a classic paradigm used in much period pieces. The heavy exposition colors the narrative. Favorite Scene: The scene where, as his first act in Africa, Marlow recovers the bones of his predecessor captain from the native village where he was struck dead after assaulting the village chieftain and left to molder as the village lies deserted. Marlow’s discovery of Kurtz having gone native and Godhead all at once. Settings: London waterfront; the River Congo; the upriver stations, villages, and shanties Pacing: The pace is fairly classic through the opening, very pretentious, not in a bad way, but in the classic sense of all writing of that period. Marlow’s voyage to the Congo picks up the pace a bit, but the prose. Plot Holes/Out of Character: Do those caught in his orbit love Kurtz or fear him? Seems a little bit of both. Last Page Sound: Woof. Author Assessment: His writing is definitely a product of his time. I say that not in a good way or a bad way, it just is. The exposition is thick here. Case by case basis. Editorial Assessment: Would have liked the exposition of the story to have been put on a diet, but as I’ve stated before, I believe this was more a function of the times and styles in which it was written than an indictment of the author or editor. The story with half as much exposition would have been roughly half its, already short, length. Did the Book Cover Reflect the Story: The book has a felt cover and no illustrated dust jacket. Song the Story Reminds me of or That Plays in my Head While Reading: Illustrations: No Hmm Moments: That moment when Marlow commented on having to recover his predecessor’s bones from the abandoned native village. Knee Jerk Reaction: real classic Disposition of Book: Irving Public Library, Irving, TX Why isn’t there a screenplay? There have been. Heart of Darkness has made it to the screen a few times, once as a Vietnam War era tale, Apocalypse Now. It also appeared as a 1993 TV movie with John Malkovich and Tim Roth in lead roles. There is another version in development that MIGHT see the light of day in 2015. Casting call: I would have loved to have seen Sean Connery in one of the roles, either, when he was younger, as Marlow or, before his current virtual retirement, as Kurtz. Would recommend to: fans of the classics, people who are wanting to read the “must reads” of literature
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
A tortured last gasp of old-school (Old World?) colonialism, I wish this book could serve as a lesson to so many people and on so many levels; How NOT To Represent People Of Color, What Imperialism Does To One, Men Do The Craziest Things, PTSD And Its Colorful Effects, How To Get Away With Being A Psychotic Megalomaniac...the list goes on! And finally: How To Write A Book So That Your Reader Feels The Hopeless, Contradictory Weight Of White Guilt Vs. Survivor's Guilt. I did think it was good, though.