Purely by coincidence, Kelly Sedinger and I both read Heart of Darkness. Sometime last year I saw it on Project Gutenberg’s Top 100 list and thought it might be interesting but it took me several months to get around to downloading and reading it.
I don’t have much to say about it. I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t like it a lot either. There’s one thing in the book that especially bothered me – the descriptions of the “silence” of the African jungle.
The current ran smooth and swift, but a dumb immobility sat on
the banks. The living trees, lashed together by the creepers and every
living bush of the undergrowth, might have been changed into stone,
even to the slenderest twig, to the lightest leaf. It was not sleep–it
seemed unnatural, like a state of trance. Not the faintest sound of any
kind could be heard.
I have never been to Africa and according to Wikipedia Joseph Conrad did travel up the Congo by steamboat, but I find this extremely hard to believe. When I step outside my back door on a summer night here in Oklahoma what I hear is far from silence. The chorus of frogs and crickets is actually loud. So, I find it hard to believe that the African jungle is ever silent. We know many different kinds of animals live there including insects and amphibians. Surely something is always making noise there at night. I’m sure it was just for dramatic effect but it’s unrealistic and that little detail got stuck in my mind and kept bugging me all through the book.