Life on the river is brutal, and unknown threats lurk in the darkness; the silence of the jungle is broken only by the ominous sound of drumming.
Marlow's mission to captain a steamer upriver into the dense interior leads him into conflict with the others who haunt the forest. But his decision to hunt down the mysterious Mr Kurtz, an ivory trader who is the subject of sinister rumours, leads him into more than just physical peril.
"This small novel is written with intense clarity - sentence for sentence it is still more unsettling than many unpleasant books that have been written since" (Anne Enright)
"Conrad's narrative arsenal is awesome... Conrad deals in profundities if he deals in anything, but it is just his ability to clip his own wings in midflight, to puncture his ponderously magnificent dirigibles, that make him such an impressive literary performer" (Sunday Times)
"Still the debate rages: is Conrad's novella an incisive critique of colonialism, or does it reinforce the very racist values it claims to unmask? Either way, his shrouded account of Marlow's journey into the "god-forsaken wilderness" of the Congo demands to be read. At its core lies the enigmatic, awesome Kurtz, and civilisation itself. "And this also," said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth"" (Guardian)
"Conrad broadened the descriptive range of the English language (his glowing and luxuriant delight in words, the haunting decor of the tropics, all that maritime terminology) more than any of his contemporaries" (Independent)
About the Author
Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski was born in the Ukraine on 3 December 1857. His parents were Polish and had both died in exile by the time Conrad was eleven. His uncle then became his guardian and looked after him in Krakow until he was sixteen when he went to sea and sailed on French and British ships. He was made British citizen in 1886 and changed his name to Joseph Conrad. In 1889 Conrad visited the Congo and his experiences there inspired Heart of Darkness. In 1894 he published his first novel, Almayer's Folly and went on to write nineteen more as well as many short stories, essays and a memoir. In 1896 he married Jessie George and they later had two sons. Conrad died on 3 August 1924.