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Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  15,817 ratings  ·  775 reviews
Heart Of Darkness. The story of the civilized, enlightened Mr. Kurtz who embarks on a harrowing "night journey" into the savage heart of Africa, only to find his dark and evil soul.

The Secret Sharer. The saga of a young, inexperienced skipper forced to decide the fate of a fugitive sailor who killed a man in self-defense. As he faces his first moral test the skipper disco
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Signet Classics (first published 1910)
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,817 ratings  ·  775 reviews


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Rachel
Aug 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people i hate
read this book for the first time in high school. we explored the novella from the perspective of a young adventurer wandering into the congo...hated it
read it in my death in lit class...provoked some interesting discussions on race...still hated it
read it again for brit lit...talked again about race and imperialism and my professor was so awesome i almost enjoyed the book for a smidgen of a second...but no.

rivets rivets rivets...boring boring boring...this 75 page novella takes more time to rea
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Judy Vasseur
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing


Joseph Conrad makes me think of a Edgar Allen Poe on serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. (Although he is said to have attempted suicide in his late teens so he couldn't have been all that jolly) Most say his writing is dark but I find it funny. Bless my soul! By jove!

What makes me think of Poe is the narrative which is like a constant paranoid obsessive-compulsive interior chatter. But I love the way the characters are outwardly totally in control and collected.

"I smiled urbanely"
Yes he smiled urban
...more
RussBear
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The horror! The horror!

I never understood exactly why this book has been termed a classic and why we still torture school children with it.
Mark
Jan 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Just fantastic. Not that anything less from Conrad was expected. But regard for something special should never be taken for granted, nor should it be deprived of its appropriate kudos when time allows.

Masterful narrative. Better than average characters. An amazing story of a place that time may always forget.

I find it funny that many critics cite Conrad's "racism" in regard to the African natives.

For one, frankly, criticizing someone from that era and background for holding black people in lo
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Faye
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE JOSEPH CONRAD. I don't even know... there's just something about his writing that makes my brain happy.

I generally hate seafaring stories, but his are so much more than that. There's so much depth to his writing, and so much insight into the human psyche. Also, I have yet to read an author who does a more convincing oral-narration voice.

Also also... the man didn't even learn English until he was an adult. How he then managed to write in English with more finesse than 99% of English-speak
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Jacob Hoerger
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had a really hard time with this book, even though it wasn't very long. First of all, the constant use of quotation mark (it's a frame story) annoyed me. In addition, the prose wasn't particularly awesome. Sure, there were a couple passages that were memorable, but, on the whole, I wasn't impressed. As for the story, it's about a sailor going up a river in Africa to meet the god-like "Mistah Kurtz." This journey, of course, is a metaphor for a journey into the human soul. I read this book beca ...more
Steve Keane
Sep 15, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Apocalypse Now is my favorite film and it is an excellent adaptation of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I've seen the movie around 80 times and have read the novella at least 12 times. It is a powerful examination of the fine line between civilization and madness and what these things mean to the soul of the individual. In many cases the so-called civilized characters are the most decadent and debased. The story works on you on a subtle but powerful level. A must read for any age.

A side recommendati
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Heidi
I believe the book's tagline says it all: "The horror, the horror."

I hated this book. HATED. I remember one day when I had done my reading section for English class, not understood a thing, except that they were on a boat and things were happening. Maybe they were being attacked. But in class we kept talking about the man in pink pajamas. I didn't remember any mention of pink pajamas. I could barely force my eyes continue reading the words on the page.
Ellen
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book didn't do anything for me. I clearly missed something, but I don't care enough to find out what.
Chris
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Heart Of Darkness didn’t live up to the hype for me. I got far more out of a study of the themes, background, and historical significance than I did out of an enjoyment on the first read. There were quite a few outstanding lines, but the narrative is maudlin and slow. I’m sure it was very progressive for its time in provocative content and style, especially for tying in psychological observation and analysis, and I’m sure that’s why even its form, which now has been repeated and surpassed, is so ...more
Caleb
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I recently read the "Heart of Darkness" portion of the book for my High School AP English class. Overall, I would have to agree with the majority of other reviewers here in saying that this book WAS BORING! Unlike many of my peers, I DO read for pleasure and know a good book when I read one. I'm not lying when I say that I thought that the writing was actually very good. However, the overall storyline was mediocre at best. Yeah, sure, metaphors and a deeper meaning, and all that, blah blah blah ...more
Eric
May 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to understand white colonial imperialist psychology, or liking a good jungle story.
Recommended to Eric by: Hum. I Faculty, U. of Chicago, the College
When I entered the U. of Chicago, there were graffiti around campus: "'Mr. Kurtz, he dead!' Bird lives!" Now, how hip was that! So, when I found out that the first part of it was from Heart of Darkness, of course I had to read that. I admired Conrad for being a non-native speaker writing in English and I'm still a sucker for the Victorian gentleman thing. I know, totally sick for a Black man. So shoot me! . . . Did/do I see the white supremist viewpoint. Sure. That was out there. The book puts y ...more
Eh?Eh!
I haven't read the Secret Sharer portion yet but for the Heart of Darkness part...plodding. Very profound, very deep, but maybe I watched too much tv while still in my malleable childhood and have too short of an attention span; man, this was hard to finish. I was more moved by the impression that J. Conrad was trying so hard to describe an indescribable sense of something, than the actual something he was describing. I think many other books present the same subject while also being entertainin ...more
Trond
Reading Joseph Conrad can be likened to enjoying a very fine old cognac, savouring every drop of it... and while it can also be sort of intoxicating, it ultimately makes you more sober instead of drunk; more lucid rather than muddled.. This is especially true of Heart of Darkness, because here Conrad brings his multi-layered, dense prose to a new level of mastery. The Secret Sharer has a similar intensity, but here this is more due to the situation in which the Captain finds himself. The story c ...more
Robert Isenberg
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Because my high school was phobic of non-American authors or history, I never read Heart of Darkness as a teenager. Although now, having thoroughly relished its pages, I'm glad I waited for a maturer age. Years after I first scanned Dante and gorged on Apocalypse Now, I see HOD is a very different work. It surprised me in countless ways, and I'm grateful to have explored its jungles when I did.

The narrator surprised me most of all, his anti-colonial grumbling, his masochistic drive, and his unse
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MacK
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics, brit-lit
Perhaps this is unfair because I only made it through "The Secret Sharer" before plopping the book down with a satisfied "well that was every bit as pretentious as I thought it would be."

Maybe "Heart of Darkness" is the brilliant piece everyone says it is, all I know is that after 50 pages of Conrad's tediously detailed prose I needed a palate cleanser and had to reread part of Harry Potter #7 to get it.
Janelle
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Very moving book about both the loving and dark nature of human beings; realistic lacking a fairy tail ending.
Carmel
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-greg
I picked up this book with trepidation as I will now openly admit--yes, openly admit--I "fake read" this book in high school (please don't tell Mr. Autry!). For the record, it was the only book I fake read, but I remember being so bored by haughty tone and old-fashioned language that I just couldn't stay awake, page after page!

To complete my own honest cannon of literature, I felt that I MUST do a complete, true read of this book. After all, it is in list after list of best books...and Conrad i
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Nick Loehrke
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natalie Black
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
My second time reading this and I still don’t get it. What’s funny is, I’ll probably read it again. From the intro by Joyce Carol Oates: “All art is selective and therefore, from some perspective, unfair; no art can be universal, for no artist is universal; we are all local individuals, shaped by the customs of our tribes. The enduring artist is the creator not of perfect works but of works that transcend the circumstances of their creation and contribute to the aesthetic development of their cr ...more
Kevinch417
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Drew
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelves
I tried very hard with this book, at least twice, before finally committing to getting through it this time.

I don’t know why I wanted to like it, or why I gave it multiple chances after being bored by it every time. Honestly, I think Joseph Conrad wrote one of the most compelling novella titles in English literature.

Heart of Darkness. Oooooh!

But unfortunately the writing has very little in the way of a unique voice or style, and the book is just boring. Even toward the end when we finally get
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Liam
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly a quick read for such a short novel, it being relatively heavy on description, metaphor, and vocabulary, but it was certainly a fascinating read that did well portraying feeling and imagery. Was also enjoyable comparing it to the Apocalypse Now film adaptation.

Just read Heart of Darkness, will come back to The Secret Sharer some other time.
Ananya
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed The Secret Sharer. Heart of Darkness, I'll have to reread. What I loved most about this edition was the Introduction and (new) Afterword though.
Charlotte
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, owned
Conrad is challenging, and it's fun to try to find the allegories and symbolisms.
Angelica GD
Jan 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay but why is nobody talking about how blatantly racist this book is and how we still teach it in schools without students being told that this is a racist representation of Africa? The interpretation of this books is dangerous especially when students aren’t previously warned that just because the author was against colonialism doesn’t mean he can’t be racist. White men do not deserve medals for being minimally ethical.
Longfellow
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this requires singular focus and perpetual concentration. Thus, comprehending a single sentence at times yields a notable feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Following a strong compulsion, I picked this up after having finished The Poisonwood Bible, whose setting in Congo from the perspective of a missionary family in the early 1960s suggested to me it would be interesting to read of Marlow’s trip up the Congo River decades earlier.

I was not disappointed. Poisonwood emphasizes the
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Rosemarie
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: advanced readers
Recommended to Rosemarie by: Mr. Carson
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad would have to be one of the most complicated books I have ever read so far. I would have to be honest and say that the vocabulary used is advanced and I did have to reread pages a few times to remember what I was reading/understand. At times during the book I had no idea what was going on which made me reread over again. This book was challenging and is good at some points. Througout the book a character called Marlow is on a journey to find Kurtz. This book st ...more
Christopher Rex
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Conrad is another brilliant writer and social commentator. Though "Heart of Darkness" is the superior of these two short novels, they both delve deep into the Nature of Man (so to speak) and contain great truths on the subject. Like many great short-novels, Conrad packs quite a punch in very few pages.

"Secret Sharer" examines a sea-captain who hides a murderer who is a mirror image of himself, while "Heart of Darkness" examines a journey into the heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the myste
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UPEP Reading Group : Week 1: Psychological Fiction 1 1 Feb 08, 2019 10:10AM  
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  • The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction
  • The Sea-Wolf and Selected Stories
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  • The Riverside Shakespeare
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  • Tartuffe and Other Plays
  • The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories
  • Three Complete Novels: Howards End, A Room with a View, Where Angels Fear to Tread
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Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard Br
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“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it much.” 34 likes
“I slipped the book into my pocket. I assure you to leave off reading was like tearing myself away from the shelter of an old and solid friendship.” 20 likes
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