Heart of Darkness

Tue 23 February 2016 by Thejaswi Puthraya

What image would the word 'sailor' invoke for you? For me it would be Haddock from Tintin, an alcoholic captain who mouths expletives when sober but a damn good seafarer. But after reading the "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, it has changed to Charles Marlow.

Set in the early 1900s, Marlow is recruited in London to undertake a journey to Central Africa to bring back a consignment of ivory for his company. During the journey, he hears of a company man called Kurtz. Kurtz is a legend in the company as he brings in more ivory than other agents in Africa. He is fed with lots of stories on the 'savage' natives but on his first contact with them he realizes they are just a diseased lot that aren't capable of savagery. His next mission is to retrieve Kurtz from an inner station and escort him back to London. What he sees here is more disturbing and affects him emotionally as well as physically. He makes it back to the company office after an arduous trip but is disgusted by everything he sees in the 'civilized' world.

The book is just over 120 pages and has a great style.