Set in the Belgian Congo during the 19th century Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, is a journey to the darkest corners of the wilderness and the human heart. The story is told by Marlow, a sailor, who journeys to the Congo to captain a river steamer and ends up on a expedition to save an extrodinary ivory trader by the name of Mr. Kurtz.
Throughout this journey he encounters the raw brutality of colonialism in all its horror and greed. Conrad brings the reader to the frontier where men do savage things all for the spoils of conquest. This is in sharp contrast with other African adventure classics, such as King Solomon's Mines, which take a much more amiable view of the conquest of Africa.
Conrad shows all this barbarism with vivid imagery. His description of the Congo wilderness brings it life with all the mystery and majesty it is due. Conrad's prose is magnificent; you feel like you are at Marlow's side throughout the whole story. However anyone thinking this is a fast paced thriller is mistaken. It plot moves at a leisurely pace and isn't as rushed as novels today.
Another one of the beauties of this book is its re-readability. I first read it through without reading the introduction and I am glad I did. It let me interperet the meaning of the book without anyone else's influences and when I read the introduction at the end I found that there was a myraid of other themes that could be drawn from the story that I had not thought of. I am now reading it a second time in a new light. I suggest anyone reading it the first time to skip the intro and the footnotes until you've read it once. It will definetly make it a more enjoyable read.
Not that it is not already an excellent book. Heart of Darkness is a literature masterpiece that shows the raw repungent character of colonialism and human nature with haunting power.