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Kongo is a work in progress: a three-part novel begun several years ago, in Mexico, then put aside when it was half-finished. A couple years later I picked it up again, finished the second part and began the final section. There it remains, as I work on my Evidence of a Lost City. It is my own version of Heart of Darkness: like Conrad's novella, it take place in Africa and is an attempt to penetrate into the darkness of despair and death. The stars of the novel are Gloria, a flame-haired American girl who is bought and sold, and John, the aging man who buys and sells her. Each purchase takes them deeper into the jungle, into magical worlds increasingly filled with death...
“We shall go to Africa.”
“Whenever you wish.”
“Shall we go now?”
She took his arm. His name was John. They went to Africa. This is a continent across the sea. It stretches for some distance, north to south. She had always been curious about Africa. Perhaps she imagined fever-filled jungles and beasts that lurked behind baobob trees. They thus outfitted themselves with netting and malaria prophylactics. They arrived on a Tuesday, spread their hammocks, and slept. They ate in a hotel dining room where elderly colonels in mufti gazed longingly at her. She dressed with some care, of course, delighted by this attention. When John seated her, he allowed his forearm to lightly brush her naked back. Umm, she murmured, a wicked smile on her face. She used the occasion to press her breasts together, so they rose like hillocks half out of her bodice. It was at this moment that he decided to sell her...