At once infuriating and thrilling, this is Joseph Conrad’s most famous and controversial novel. First published in 1902, Heart of Darkness paints an image of a tranquil Europe and a terrifying Africa, with an unmissable contrast between life on the safe River Thames and the dangerous River Congo. Chinua Achebe considered Conrad to have been “a thoroughgoing racist.” Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
What is not debatable in my mind is that in Heart of Darkness, Conrad capture the times in which he wrote and succeeded in painting a picture that reveals the capacity of human evil in search of treasure. “The horror!” The mysterious Mr. Kurtz is the prototype of those who have exploited Congo and have, in turn, been destroyed by that complex country. This is essential reading.