Diana Brydon


Timothy Findley's recurrent obsessions with the legacy of colonialism, new forms of Empire under capitalism, and the social construction of masculinity come together in his 1993 novel Headhunter in a particularly troubling fashion. The novel replays Conrad's Heart of Darkness during a terrifying time of an AIDS-like plague in the late twentieth century, sometime in the near future, relocating its characters and their obsessions in Toronto, Canada's financial heartland. This deadly disease proceeds by discoloured speckling of the body that could be termed 'speckulation', the implicit pun signalling an intertextual relation with 1980s capitalism as much as with Camus' The Plague. The Conradian frame is explicitly invoked in the title, 'Headhunter', the epigraph to Section One, which cites Marlow's famous beginning, '... this also ... has been one of the dark places of the earth' and the novel's delightful opening paragraph, which runs as follows:



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