This beautiful, hardcover edition of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is the second in a series of classics released by B&H Publishers. It includes an introduction by Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University. There are also reflection questions at the end of each of the three sections of the book. They will help you read like a Christian, and make this an excellent choice for your book club.
The book itself has been called both a novel (short) and a short story (long). The narrator, Marlow, is a mariner who recounts his journey into the heart of the dark continent (Africa). However, the more important story is centered around a different kind of voyage–into the dark hearts of men. Marlow encounters hypocrisy, greed, idolatry (several kinds)and racism, as well as disease and death. The nature of truth is also a major theme. This is a read that is neither fun nor uplifting. It left me feeling “uneasy” (a word used over and over again in the story) and dismayed at being brought face to face with how uncivilized we civilized people really are. It is unfortunately based on both biographical and historic fact, but it also transcends the time by addressing concerns that are universal.
Ms. Swallow points out that although Conrad is a skeptic, in this work there is:
“… an implicit acknowledgement of the human need of something bigger than and outside ourselves to check our basest human impulses and most craven tendencies.”
This is a book to be read slowly and carefully. The language is evocative and poetic. It is not easy, but it is important. It will challenge you to examine our own culture and how it influences us to view what is “truth.”
VERDICT: 5 STARS. I look forward to more in this series.
If you would like to see a review of another classic in this series, visit this post:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen–Book Review
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The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.