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Heart of Darkness: And Youth [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Conrad , Tim Butcher
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £2.50
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Book Description

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY TIM BUTCHER



The silence of the jungle is broken only by the ominous sound of drumming. Life on the river is brutal and unknown threats lurk in the darkness. 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.


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Review

'As powerful a condemnation of imperialism as has ever been written' --The Observer

'Once experienced, it is hard to let Heart of Darkness go. A masterpiece of surprise, of expression and psychological nuance, of fury at colonial expansion and of how men make the least of life... endlessly readable and worthy of rereading' --The Telegraph

Harper’s Magazine

"evenhanded … it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 409 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (27 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NX6YA6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #545,829 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, although difficult. 25 Nov. 2010
By Mash
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What struck me about Conrad's tale was the richness of his descriptions. The way he combines words in a highly unorthodox way succeeds in giving sections of the work a very disturbing feel to them. I suspect this stems from English being Conrad's third language. In any case, it gives the text an unpredictable tenor that keeps the reader in a state of unease, just as the author intended.

The themes are no less profound. I particularly enjoyed Conrad's critique of Western civilization - comparing the tribesmen with the supposedly superior whites and comparing the Congo with the Thames of 1000 years ago.

For all its virtues, this book is quite disorientating and requires careful reading. At several points I had to reread pages to determine who was talking to whom. In particular, the point at which Kurtz finally makes his appearance is (perhaps intentionally) skimmed over without fanfare. I feel that another read or two is in order.

This Penguin Classics edition comes with some extras. Some, like the analysis of changes made between the typescript and the book, are for enthusiasts only. Others, such as the timeline and explanatory notes are essential to any reader. It's a slim volume that is appropriately sombre-looking.

A genuine classic.
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats 13 Feb. 2008
Format:Paperback
Some readers seem to have difficulty with this short novel. It's certainly not easy reading (Conrad never is, though I love his prose style), but is a challenging, thought-provoking and highly absorbing character study. The journey is as much into a mind breaking down as it is a physical journey down the Congo River. I found it richly rewarding (both the 1st time and when I read it again recently). It probably says more, in a short space, than any other novel about human existence, civilization and human excesses (with the possible exception of "The Fall" by Albert Camus). Powerful stuff - if you like a strong poison then try it (and then check out Conrad's great full-length novels: "Lord Jim", "Nostromo" and "Under Western Eyes").
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
At the very dawn of the 21st century, the front page of a major UK broadsheet newspaper (The Daily Telegraph), summed up the previous 100 years as "the century of 'Heart of Darkness' and 'The Waste Land'". Yes, this short novel, actually first published (I think) in 1899, presciently captures the horrors that are to come once "civilized" men of the industrialized West gain dominion over the Earth. I first read this book about 25 years ago - and, as a callow youth, I barely understood a word of it. Yet its symbolism enthralled me and I have been compelled to return to it 4 or 5 times since, each time gaining a deeper insight into what Conrad, through his imperfect narrator Marlow, is struggling to say. The writing is superb, the themes immense, and the setting in Africa's dark heart (counterpointed with the scenes on the Thames) sensational. One day I hope to emulate Graham Greene and reread the book while travelling up the Congo by boat. But I know I must be prepared for a dark, dark journey... and one that fails to reach a neat and tidy conclusion.
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182 of 194 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition review 18 Jan. 2011
By Gerund
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This review is specifically about the Kindle edition of The Heart of Darkness, and more specifically:
# Publisher: Public Domain Books (9 Jan 2006)
# Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
# ASIN: B000JQU7A8
Reviews between editions seem to be frequently amalgamated and so it is important to note this is about the free (at time of writing) version.

Please also note that this review is about the 'edition', not the actual story itself and is therefore no reflection on Conrad's writing.

Having made myself clear on what I am reviewing (hopefully!) then my opinion is this:

Download some samples of other versions and pay some small amount for a better text. I struggled with half of this version before resorting to the actual book that I already owned. There are two major problems:

1. The style of writing and the protagonist Marlow's delivery makes very frequent use of dashes (en or em rules). This Kindle edition uses double hyphens, viz --, with no spaces, as in 'There were cases of them down at the coast--cases--piled up--burst--split!', which makes reading awkward and detracts from the narrative style.

2. Carriage returns are used frequently in error and seemingly at random. It is possible to identify new paragraphs as they are correctly indented but, having a line finishing after the first word for example, implies the end of a paragraph. However, the non-indented start of the next line shows that the text was meant to be continuous. Checking several examples with the Penguin text edition shows that these frequent carriage returns are, indeed, in error.

This edition is not recommended for reading on the Kindle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book but not the edition for me 9 Oct. 2013
By Drumma
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. Get yourself a copy and lose yourself in an absorbing tale...
However, choose carefully as there are a number of editions around with quite different prices.

The downside of this edition is that it is in American english. That is fine if a) you are American and/or b) you wish to read an american version. I am English and I wished to read this beautifully-written english book, penned by an english author, in English english!
I appreciate that this book does not fall into the "written by an American and published in America but we'll flog it to the Brits regardless cos it's close enough and we're too lazy and/or money-pinching to do a proper english version" category. However, since this was originally in english, this version must have been specifically produced for the American market and I do think that this should have been stated in the product description.
I know I'm being pedantic but it's a fabulous book and part of its charm is the 'englishness' of it. At least it is not the sort of book where 'sneakers' and 'sidewalks' made an appearance but I found that american spellings of 'center' and 'color', for example, really put me off.
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