Adina's Reviews > Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
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it was ok
bookshelves: classics, 1001, congo

A beautifully written dark ramble.

Do not be fooled by the fact this book is short. It is actually very dense, hard to read, with long paragraphs and endless metaphors. Even the rare dialog was inserted in a big, bulky paragraph.

I found it strenuous to follow the line of the story. The author was jumping from one idea to the next in the blink of an eye and the prose was so full of pompous words that I was lost among them like in the darkness of the deep, unreal jungle he was describing.

Here's an example:

“It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream--making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams...No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream-alone...”

I could feel the suffocating atmosphere of the book and I understood the main metaphor which is very true. People, no matter of skin's color can become cruel and evil in certain circumstances.
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Reading Progress

July 10, 2015 – Shelved
July 10, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
July 10, 2015 – Shelved as: classics
August 3, 2015 – Started Reading
August 4, 2015 – Finished Reading
January 30, 2018 – Shelved as: 1001
October 8, 2018 – Shelved as: congo

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Christy Reading your quote here, Adina, made me hold my breath as I recall doing when I read this in high school. Funny as I hadn't studied any political economy yet but instinctively felt Conrad was wrong that humans were naturally evil *by nature*, rather than the structure of society emphasizing and drawing out either the altruistic and cooperative side of human nature or the side that his stream of consciousness asserts as natural, hopeless, insurmountable. Yes, I remember that "suffocating" feel of it!


Adina Christy wrote: "Reading your quote here, Adina, made me hold my breath as I recall doing when I read this in high school. Funny as I hadn't studied any political economy yet but instinctively felt Conrad was wrong..." It is true that the structure of the society and its intrests encourage one side of another. However, when I look at all this hate that grows and grows all around the world I cannot stop thinking that evil has always been inside of many of us, That the only reason that we do not hurt each other in a frenzy are the social norms, laws and religion that were imposed on us. The more I live the less I trust humanity.


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken I struggled through this in recent years. Thought maybe I missed something in earlier years. Now I'm not so sure.


Adina Ken wrote: "I struggled through this in recent years. Thought maybe I missed something in earlier years. Now I'm not so sure."
I would never try this again. Life is too short.


Gina Whitlock You're right, Adina. It's very hard to get through. Then I watched Apocalypse Now, the movie, which is supposed to "be" the tale of Heart of Darkness, and I was further confused.


Steven Godin Difficult read, need to give it another try.


Adina Gina wrote: "You're right, Adina. It's very hard to get through. Then I watched Apocalypse Now, the movie, which is supposed to "be" the tale of Heart of Darkness, and I was further confused."

I did not know about the movie. I see that it won 2 Oscars. Might be interesting to watch for an alternative view of the book. Although, if you say it is even more confusing...I don't know if it's a good idea.


Adina Steven wrote: "Difficult read, need to give it another try." Good luck if you want to torture yourself again.


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