We love this opulent book that reimagines Joseph Conrad’s classic novella Heart of Darkness as a glossy magazine, set in the City of London amid the glamour and glitz of boom-time finance and banking. Indie-publishers Four Corners and the Vanity Press have been collaborating on a series that asks different artists to rework classic novels and short stories in new formats; this time around they worked with the turner-winning artist Fiona Banner on the Conrad classic.  

The original tale, published in 1899, recounts the story of a journey up the Congo River told by the narrator while aboard a ship on the Thames. It’s a story about trade, corruption, imperialism and the city. So, naturally, Banner asked the famed Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin, known for his powerful photos of conflict in the Congo, to observe the City of London as a new scene of “conflict”. Frantic trade workers and stockbrokers scream down phones, visit strip clubs and purchase gaudy paintings at auction.

It is a book to read and to look at; humorous yet powerful black-and-white photographs sit alongside this much-discussed novella – a fabulous story in itself. Banner and Pellegrin have recreated an 80s power magazine as well as a clever and decadent ode to Conrad’s finest work.

Heart of Darkness is available online at Tender Books.