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Not an easy book, but an important one
am 25. April 2013
The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much - Heart of Darkness
This is a book that is difficult to rate. On the one hand, it is very hard to read. The perspective of the book is a person listening to another person telling the story, which means that almost all paragraphs are in quotes, which can and will get confusing if the narrator starts quoting people, and gets worse once he starts quoting people who are quoting people themselves. Add to that the slightly chaotic narration, the long sentences and paragraphs, and an almost complete lack of chapters (the book is structured into only 3 chapters), and then add some jumps in causality in the narration for good measure, and you have a recipe for headaches.
On the other hand, the book has a good story. It has no clear antagonist, all characters except for the narrator are in one way or another unlikable idiots, brutal savages (and I am talking about the white people, not the natives). It is hard to like any of them, and, strangely, the character who is probably the worst of the lot was the one I liked best, just because he was honest about his actions and did not try to hide behind concepts like "bringing the civilization to these people". He was brutal, yes. He was (probably) racist, yes. But they all are. He seems to show an awareness of his actions, of the wrongness of it, in the end, while all the others remain focused on their personal political and material gain.
I am not a big fan of books that are considered "classics". They usually do not interest me, and being forced to read them by your teachers will probably not improve your view of the books. I am not sure if I liked this book, and that in itself is an achievement on the part of this book: I am unable to give it a personal rating compared to my other books, because it is so different.
There are many people who have liked the book. There are many who have hated it. I cannot recommend it, because I know that many people will not like it. Some would say that these people "don't get it", but that would be wrong as well. You need a special interest in the topics of the book, or a special connection to the book itself, to properly enjoy it. But I also would not discourage anyone to read it either.
It is part of the public domain, so it is free. If you are interested, start reading it. You can still shout "this is bulls***" and drop it at any point.