Joseph Conrad’s famous novella, Heart of Darkness, is about a treacherous river journey to find a man who has lost his mind to the African jungle. Conrad is skilled in bouncing a myriad of meanings off his story-telling which is why Heart of Darkness is one of world’s most studied and critiqued books. The story itself is told to a group of seamen gathered on the decks of an old cargo boat anchored on the River Thames in the late 19th Century. Conrad himself had been on a similar African journey to the one described. The words and sentence structures he chooses are designed to give a sense of a struggle through a complex environment. At one level it is a critique on European colonialism. At another it reflects the complex waters of the human soul. At its rawest, it examines how we all deal with the unexpected and hostile in life, the horror as he calls it. Once critic described trying to get hold of the novella’s meaning was like trying to catch smoke in your hands. Film director Francis Ford Copolla turned Heart of Darkness into the block-busting Hollywood film Apocalypse Now set in Asia during the Vietnam War, starring Marlon Brando as the mad character of Kurtz. Join Humphrey Hawksley on Friday September 29th for Goldster Book Club Conversation to talk about river journeys, history, the human soul and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.