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As I may have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of cruises. Although I haven't gone on one yet this year, I usually go on at least one or two every year. Where the cruise actually goes is wholly unimportant to me. Half the time I sleep through the stops anyway, and just stay on the boat. I just like having no cell phone, having great food available 24/7, and sitting on the back of the boat watching the waves.

It takes a certain type of person to enjoy a cruise. Usually that person is an old person. My friend Jonah and I are the two exceptions. I think we've gone on two cruises together, and each time we were the only people remotely close to our age. So much for meeting the hot ladies pirate-style.

On one such cruise we woke up at our usual time - 3pm. The boat was docked in Mexico, and was leaving at 5:30, meaning that everyone had to be on the boat at 5.

Review: Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

On Books In Progress

This book is undoubtedly most famous today for being the story behind the film Apocalypse Now and really comparisons between the two are inevitable.

The story itself is a story within a story, being related by a sailor on a ship while it is waiting at anchor in the Thames estuary. To pass the time he tells his crewmates of the time he spent several years previously working for a trading consortium in Africa, piloting a boat to the trading station up river to pick up ivory.

His manager is wary of the man who runs the trading station - Mr Kurtz. He believes he is ultimately after his job. It is clear that Kurtz is a very talismanic and polarising figure, some hating him and others talking about him as if he is some sort of deity. The narrator cannot wait to meet him but suffers many delays (including having to repair his boat) before he can set off up river. By the time he does the weight of expectation and anticipation has created his own expectations of what he will find. But what will the reality be?

This is s slim volume, and to be honest a slim plot. But the brilliance is in the telling of the story. Conrad carefully evokes the feeling of the oppressive heat and frustration of not being able to head up the river. But once underway the jungle closes in and is claustrophobic and full of mystery and hidden dangers. The attraction is not in the tale itself but in the way it is told.

By the time the trading post is reached the expectations of Kurtz have been raised in the reader as much as in the narrator and events unfold in an unexpected direction.

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