High quality, trade paperback edition. From Wikipedia: Heart of Darkness (1899), by Joseph Conrad, is a short novel, presented as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow's job as an ivory transporter down the Congo River. In the course of his commercial-agent work in the Congo Free State (1885-1908), the seaman Marlow becomes very interested in and investigates Mr Kurtz, an ivory-procurement agent, a man of established notoriety among the native Africans and the European colonials. The story is a thematic exploration of the savagery-versus-civilization relationship, and of the colonialism and the racism that make imperialism possible. Originally published as a three-part serial story, in 'Blackwood's Magazine', the novella Heart of Darkness has been variously published and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness as the sixty-seventh top-novel of the hundred-best-novels in English of the twentieth century; 1] and is included to the Western canon. The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide. The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth. The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bows looking to seaward. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified. It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom. Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns-and even convictions. The Lawyer-the best of old fellows-had, because of his many years and many virtues, the only cushion on deck, and was lying on the only rug. The Accountant had brought out already a box of dominoes, and was toying architecturally with the bones. Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzen-mast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol. The Director, satisfied the anchor had good hold, made his way aft and sat down amongst us. We exchanged a few words lazily.
About the Author
From Wikipedia: Joseph Conrad (born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski;:11-12 3 December 1857 - 3 August 1924) was a Polish author who wrote in English after settling in England. He was granted British nationality in 1886, but always considered himself a Pole.[note 1] Conrad is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in English,  although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties (and always with a marked accent). He wrote stories and novels, often with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an indifferent universe. He was a master prose stylist, who brought a distinctly non-English[note 2] tragic sensibility into English literature. While some of his works have a strain of romanticism, he is viewed as a precursor of modernist literature. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors, including D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald,  William Faulkner,  Ernest Hemingway,  George Orwell, :254 Graham Greene,  Malcolm Lowry, William Golding,  William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Italo Calvino, Gabriel Garcia Marquez,  J. G. Ballard, John le Carre,  V.S. Naipaul,  Hunter S. Thompson, J.M. Coetzee and Salman Rushdie.[note 3] Films have been adapted from or inspired by Conrad's Almayer's Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The Duel, Victory, The Shadow Line, and The Rover. Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew on his native Poland's national experiences and on his personal experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world, while also plumbing the depths of the human soul. Appreciated early on by literary cognoscenti, his fiction and nonfiction have gained an almost prophetic cachet in the light of subsequent national and international disasters of the 20th and 21st centuries.