Published in 1899, Heart of Darkness is told in one night on a boat by the Thames as Marlow’s tale of his search for the infamous Kurtz through the hellish jungles of the Congo River. Much like A Passage to India, it explores colonialism and racism, this time Belgium over the Congo Free State, but it does so in a much darker and haunting style. There are no redeeming qualities in Conrad’s characters.
The unsettling story is one atrocity after another that ends with the death of Kurtz and the now famous deathbed words, “The horror! The horror!”
Conrad’s prose takes the reader to the depths of hell with him, only occasionally surfacing to some minute breath of humanity. It is perhaps the greatest condemnation of colonialism ever written.