Originally Posted by tigrushka
If you liked Joseph Conrad I recommend The Secret Agent!
Conrad is a master - The horror! The horror! When I was young I loved the connection between Heart of Darkness, TS Eliot's The Hollow Men and Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Great novella, great poem, great film.
Heart of Darkness is one of the books that everyone ought to read when they are young - all those themes of journeying, out into the splendour and danger of the world and inwards into our own heart of darkness. The catastrophe of a foreign intervention is also quite timely and instructive.
The Secret Agent is even more timely and instructive - the egotism that feeds fanaticism, official obfuscation, the primacy of family relationships. I'm not sure I would recommend it to a young adult though. It is one of darkest books I have read. The tone of relentless weariness, alienation, and bitterness is sometimes overwhelming. It famously has an ironical style that is meant to inject distance and humour, but I was glad to have a few more years under my belt before tackling this. Incredible work though and so far ahead of its time.