2017 · February · Reviews · University

Book Review: “Heart of Darkness”, by Joseph Conrad

Published in 2012 by Penguin | Originally published in 1899 | Two Feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz’s extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has been considered the most important indictment of the evils of imperialism written to date.


This was very atmospheric, and it’s so chock full of symbolism that you read on with a feeling of doom and that everything is about to go horribly wrong. I mean, on the very first page they mention that they’re close to a place called Gravesend. Grave’s end. Someone is going to die at the end of it, and they tell you right away.

However, I feel as if I might be missing something, because I just don’t get it. I would frequently fall asleep halfway through a sentence, or start thinking about something else so that I suddenly had missed the contents of an entire page. I don’t know what it is, because it’s not boring per se. It’s an interesting book. It might be that it gets lost in the language a bit (which seems pretty intentional now that I’m writing it down – considering the very prevalent symbolism in the actual story, Conrad might have been making a point of confusing the reader through confusing language). But by the end of it, this just wasn’t for me.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Heart of Darkness”, by Joseph Conrad

  1. Brilliant review 🙂 I read this last year and felt exactly the same way as you have. While it was very good, I did tend to switch off every now and then, and I did feel like I was “missing” something. Maybe it’s time for a re-read?! Sometime 😉

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