Book Review: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Hello, my name is Judith! Welcome to my blog, ReadandReview.

Heart of Darkness is a novella by Joseph Conrad. It is about a voyage up the Congo River, in the heart of Africa, by the narrator Charles Marlow, who tells of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz.

I only read this because it’s a set text on my university course. I really didn’t like it.

Conrad’s writing style didn’t engage me at all.

I got the impression, presumably helped by the fact it is a set text for me, that I knew what the book was about whilst failing to follow the story. The themes of imperial rule, racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes, colonialism and madness were particularly noticeable; I’m sure these will be useful in an essay question, but they made the narrative unlikeable.

There was one exciting scene – an attack on the boat – that used exciting and violent imagery. Then it was back to more of Marlow’s boring narration.

I tried to read Heart of Darkness on two separate occasions. The first time, I gave up after a few pages. The second time, I read just over half, and skipped to the ending. I normally don’t like to give up on a book, but I just couldn’t struggle through it any longer.

If you don’t have to read it, don’t.

Star Rating: 1/5 Stars

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Have you read this book? What did you think? 

– Judith


This post was last updated in January 2020.