Tommy's Reviews > Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
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M_50x66
's review
Sep 17, 13

bookshelves: fiction
Read from September 05 to 17, 2013, read count: 2

Second reading in 2013: I enjoyed this book even less the second time around I think. I found myself not caring about the characters. I'm sure it was interesting or revolutionary for its time but it left me flat and bored.

First Reading in 2009: This book had its moments and had some interesting characteristics but, in general, left me a little cold and wanting more.

This book started out very ornate and overly descriptive to the point where I wanted to yell at the book to just get to the point. In my opinion this is the British in Conrad. When the book gets going and gets into the jungle and the gets closer to Kurtz it becomes slightly more brooding and introspective. This being the Eastern European (Conrad was born in Poland) in Conrad. It's an interesting mix that I can't recall seeing before. It makes Marlow slightly unique in that sense (to my reading experience at least) and I give Conrad credit for creating a character (Kurtz) that is deeper than most British authors can.

That being said I still feel that the novella is detached and lacks depth of even the most basic Russian author.

I think Conrad's outside perspective of Kurtz (through Marlow) was interesting only because we get to see a transformation in Marlow. At the end of the day, though, Kurtz is still the intriguing character that we all want to know about and getting a 3rd person perspective on him seems like a bit of a cop out.

If you want the gold standard for character pieces of emotionally and psychologically interesting characters you really need to read "Notes From Underground" by Dostoyevsky. It's a first person perspective of such an interesting (and I would say more interesting) character and his journey. Conrad gives us a journey with Marlow and the more interesting character with Kurtz.

A side note in closing. The treatment of the whole British imperialist setting to me seemed very poorly done. His (ounce of) compassion for his fallen cannibal colleague seemed detached and poorly done. It was as if it was supposed to come of as compassionate to a degree but Conrad didn't really understand the emotion himself because the British Empire is just a given and Africans are just savages.
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Reading Progress

09/05/2013 marked as: currently-reading
09/17/2013 marked as: read

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