Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness tells a story based on Conrad's own experiences in the Congo Free State during the 1890s. Set in Africa, the main character, Marlow, is asked to find and bring back the ivory trader, Mr. Kurtz. However, the deeper Marlow travels, the more ominous and depressing his surroundings become.
Marlow finds a dying and traumatized Mr. Kurtz who is surrounded by his ivory and despair. Although he has dominated the Congo natives, Mr. Kurtz is far from the prestigious and heroic man that Marlow had thought he would meet. His corruption and mistreatment of those around him become evident the more Marlow uncovers about Mr. Kurtz's life deep in the heart of Africa.
The story focuses on the effects of unrestrained power and uncontrolled greed as the cause for evil and corruption. Although not an easy task, Marlow is able to take Mr. Kurtz back onto his boat and attempts to take him out of Africa. However, Mr. Kurtz does not make the journey back, and the book holds true to its title through the end. As an outright attack on imperialism, this story is filled with adventure, morally ambiguous situations, and detailed descriptions of Marlow's adventure.
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Nicky Whichelow's narration of this book is superb and very fitting for this book. I don't understand why this doesn't have more ratings. I suppose it's pretty hard to compete with the Kenneth Branagh narration, which in my opinion sounds like he is simply reading it for the first time and his pauses for breath are annoying and come at points where he shouldn't be pausing for breath.
The book itself is very verbose. I had to slow it down from 100% reading speed to catch it. It's an otherwise very good performance and story.
If you have watched Apocalypse Now this book is its companion.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
This book is on the bucket list. It makes many of the list of top 100 novels to read of all time. For my taste, I didn't care for it. I give it three stars for the descriptive writing. There are a couple of notable quotes, when you hear them you'll know which ones I mean. One thing I disliked was the prologue outlining the whole story! Talk about spoiler. It was like I was to dense to understand what the novel to be about. If you are going to do that, put it at the end.
The narration was choppy and obviously spliced together. Numerous times, the cadence shifted as well as her tone. It was obvious that she narrated this book in parts and over time. I didn't care for that. So, read it because its on the bucket list and its only 3 1/2 hours. If you are going to read it, try a different narrator.
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