I've just finished reading "Heart of darkness", by Joseph Conrad. It’s the first book I’ve ever read by Conrad, and it’s my friend Rumbonín to blame. There was no Spanish translation available at the library at the moment, so I decided to be bold and read it in English; I knew I was going to have a hard time, since my English is not good enough to read such kind of literature easily.
Of course, I could not understand every word, every adjective. Moreover, Conrad’s style is not the easiest thing to read; it’s somewhat elaborate, it’s the prose of a great writer from the XIX century. But I believe in trying to read in the original language when remotely possible, even at the price of not fully understanding some portion of the text.
Coincidentally, a couple of days ago, at a sale, I could hold a copy of a Spanish translation. And the first sentences of the book had lots of unknown words; there are plenty of sea expressions that I could not fully understand, even in Spanish. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the most important feature of the book.
As a matter of fact, I think I’ve understood enough of it to enjoy Conrad’s work. I haven’t looked for many words in the dictionary; I’ve decided to just go on and let myself get caught in… well, the heart of darkness. And think again about those men that faced new, unknown worlds. I’m not much of an adventurer myself, but I admire their ships, their sails, their effort, their fear, their strength. Be it fictitious (Ishmael) or real (Cherry-Garrard).
You don’t have to agree with every sentence, but you’ll recognize yourself in those thoughts and doubts and fears:
Droll thing life is – that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself – that comes too late – a crop of unextinguishable regrets.