Book of the Month: Heart of Darkness

October’s book of the month is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. In this transfixing novel we hear of Marlowe’s dreamlike (or should I say “nightmare”?) journey down the Congo River from the anonymous narrator to whom he has related his tale. Marlowe’s quest? To retrieve ivory trader extraordinaire Kurtz, whose recent behavior has had tongues wagging–all the way back to the White Sepulchre (aka Brussels?). Kurtz–is he a hero? Or a madman? Or is he Everyman?

I’ve sent my “Points to Ponder” to all my book groups and I know we’ll be having some riveting discussions coming up. (When you join one of my groups, I’ll send you my “Points.”) However, I am wondering what you think of this fascinating novel:

  • Has Heart of Darkness stood the test of time? Is it important that we read this book today?
  • Can you relate to Marlowe? Can you relate to Kurtz?
  • Remember, this book was published in 1899. Do you see it as an indictment of European imperialism or is it a eurocentric racist portrayal of Africans as an inferior people?
  • Is there any uplifting message we can take away from this book, or it it a complete downer?
  • Does it remind you of Lord of the Flies?
  • What is the heart of darkness, do you think?

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