Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad: A Review

Posted 30 June, 2007 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 16 Comments


Title: Heart of Darkness
Author: Joseph Conrad
Pages: 96
Date Finished: June 30, 2007
Rating: 4.5/5

Don’t let the number of pages fool you, this book is packed full–every word brimming with meaning. I don’t pretend to fully understand this book, and I think that after reading it again (and again and again) I will still be able to pick up something I hadn’t the first time around.

The tale begins with Marlow telling his fellow shipmates of his journey on the Congo River into well…the heart of darkness. Although this is a story about his journey, it is also a look into humankind, especially as Marlow is in search of the white trader, Kurtz, who seems to have crossed the line between civilization and savagery.

“They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity–like yours–the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar” (44).

Recommendation: I can’t possibly do this book the justice it deserves. I would recommend this book to everyone. But, be prepared to pay attention. I can usually knock out 96 pages in a day, but I took three days to read this book, and still I wonder if I blew through it too quickly. The prose is so rich and beautiful, but also haunting. As Kurtz cries, “The horror, the horror.” I will be revisiting this one again.

16 Responses to “Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad: A Review”

  1. Joy

    Ahhhh, maybe I’ll go back to this one for my Decades choice. I had it, then switched it, although I don’t remember why. ???

    Thanks for the encouragement! :)

  2. Joy – I can’t remember which ones I was choosing from, but I’m glad I picked this one. Hope you like it (given your “liking” for classics). :)

  3. Sounds interesting. A fried of mine read it at university but didn’t really get into it which put me off. Will have to revise my opinion after reading your review :)

  4. Rhinoa – thanks for coming by. I had actually read it also as a Junior, but I couldn’t remember it at all (except certain memorable parts). It isn’t light reading, but I was glad I took it in.

  5. Not a big fan of books under 300 pages. And I think we read this in high school or something. It souns familiar. LOL.

  6. I read this one a few years ago, and it took me almost a week, despite its size. It really is a heavy, intense book.

    At the time, I did not quite know what to think of it. One thing is certain – it unsettled me. Your review made me want to revisit it.

    I love the look of the blog, btw!

  7. * Mailyn – LOL, I’m not a big fan of books over 300 pages. :) Just kidding–it seems its hard to find a good book less than 400 pages now. This one feels like it is 300 pages, though.

    * Nymeth – Thanks! I was worried that the colors didn’t contrast enough. It is a very heavy book, and I think that I’ll probably re-read it again in the next few years. There’s just so much to get out of it!

  8. Petunia, I did too–everything comes together so beautifully in this book–the language, the insight, the plot. Its hard for me to believe that English was Conrad’s *third* language!

    Best wishes!

  9. 3M

    I loved this book and rated it a 5 earlier in the year. English was his second language after Polish. Such beautiful writing!

  10. 3M – Actually 3rd language after Polish and French! It amazes me to read his writing and the richness he includes. He certainly has an amazing command of language! Thanks for coming by.

  11. I read this in high school and don’t remember anything at all, except that we were the only people reading this instead of The Great Gatsby (which I’ve still never read.) I’ll have to put it on my list again.

  12. Lisa – for some reason I didn’t read many of these books in high school. I wasn’t in honors, so I guess that’s why. But my younger sisters read these books in HS, so I’ve *borrowed* their copies. I’ve read Great Gatsby a few times and enjoy it as well–although the two books are very different!

  13. Anonymous

    I just read this book for my highschool report. At first I didn’t understand it but soon I found I couldn’t put it down. It’s a great read and I enjoyed it. I might have to read it as a junior next year. I bet I’ll find I will catch more as I read it over and over again.

  14. *Anon – I think if I read this in high school it would have passed right by me…so kudos!! I’m sure I’ll read this one again some day and will still catch things I didn’t the first. Such a great book!