Reviews from 09/2015

Heart of Darkness

Bookfilm reviewed by Rob Mason on 12 September 2015

Heart of Darkness is a short history based novel by Joseph Conrad.  The story is about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England. The implication is that London and Africa are places of darkness. It is also suggested that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages; therefore Heart of Darkness raises important questions about imperialism…Read

The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 5 September 2015

The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad - A biography by John Stape

Born in 1857 into an aristocratic Polish family, he went to sea in 1874 in the French merchant service, which can hardly be a relaxing experience. He switched to the English merchant service in 1878, and qualified as a master mariner and took British nationality in 1886. He stayed at sea until 1894, both accepting discipline and administering it. In 1894, aged 36, Conrad reluctantly gave up the sea, partly because of poor health, partly due to unavailability of ships, and partly because he had become so fascinated with writing that…Read

A Smile of Good Fortune

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 3 September 2015

A smile of good fortune concerns a young ship's captain who has made a passage to a Pacific Island to pick up a cargo of sugar cane. When the captain arrives at the Island he accepts an invitation to visit the home of a ship-chandler whom he may have some business with.  However when he arrives at the home he meets the attractive daughter of the host, Alice, whom he feels drawn to.  The captain describes it this way: "How weak, irrational and absurd we are! How easily carried away whenever our awakened imagination brings…Read