I have listened to it several times. Branagh seems to "get" this story, and brings it to life perfectly. Also, he does not allow Coppola's film "Apocalypse Now" to influence or overshadow this original.
In this performance the original text as written by Conrad has been "updated" to a small extent; that is to say, "politically correctified" to a certain degree.
Is this not clear? Then let me be blunt: they have replaced Conrad's unabashed use of "the N-word" with "native" and "negro" and such-like.
I would have much preferred that they not do this. They should have had the courage to let literature and history speak in its own voice. Nonetheless, the story survives this minor tampering.
Absolutely brilliant. I struggled to get through the print version of Heart of Darkness, but ultimately gave up about halfway through. Branagh's narration takes the century-old text and gives it proper inflection. He is an actor as much as a reader, and brings the story to life.
Kurtz is built up for most of the story, hailed as a visionary for his ability to coerce ivory out of Africa. The best scene is when we find out how.
The horror. The horror.
I'll give everything a try
I just finished reading this book and wow, the way Conrad described imperialism definitely made me think twice about was done not just in Africa as the story revolves around here, but also of South American countries like Peru. I mean, we have always been told and agreed that imperialism isn't is not always good and that it often does more destruction than good. But only after I read this book did I gain the full impact of the White Man's Burden. Heart of Darkness really brings that out and you are confronted directly with the horror and suffering of the people in the Congo.
I have read it twice now and I have to say reading it again helps in concentrating more on the theme and the exquisite language Conrad uses to foreshadow and bring out various themes and motifs throughout the book. The narrator is fantastic, I thought he done very well in voicing out one of the most important quotes: "the horror, the horror."
This is a very dark book and in more than one sense. It is about how a person becomes or could become when they are eaten up from the inside by greed and ambition until all humanity is gone. It is a hard and extremely dense book, but a must read.
This has been top two of the performances heard so far.
For the fun of it after listened to the book in its entirety, I went to Sparknotes and took a test on the material to see what I had retained. It was effective for someone with ADD.
Yes. Very well written. A classic. Kenneth Branaugh does a wonderful job of narrating.
The story is dark and difficult emotionally to get into. It goes deep into the humid, foggy jungle in Africa on a journey to the heart of darkness, a figure of literal sense and of the minds of those who live there.
Wonderful way of reading. He has a great voice...a nice way of inflecting differences of characters.
Transporting you to the very heart of darkness... To the inner descent of the minds of those who go there.
An avid audio fan, I listen mainly whilst walking my dog. I enjoy many and varied subjects,history,travel,espionage,crime,anything good
I was obliged to read "The Ni**er of The Narcissus" by Conrad at High School,and was so completely bored that I have stayed well away from Conrad in the 50 years since then.
When I saw that Kenneth Branagh was the narrator for this book,and discovered that the film Apocalypse Now (one of my favourites) was based on Heart of Darkness, I decided that I would give Conrad another chance.
I am so gratified that I did !
A"'rattling good yarn", but so much more than that, a convincing picture of imperialism at its worst, the story of a tortured soul with almost no checks on its power and paranoia ,the story presents so many moral questions that are as disturbing in todays world as they should have been then.
Kenneth Branagh is superb,superb,everything on the river and in the jungle comes alive. Please give us more
So Many Books, So Little Time
Conrad's strange, frightening and bizarre story is one that has always haunted me since I first read it in high school. Now, forty years later, Kenneth Branagh's intense performance brings it breath-takingly alive. This is a deep, strange, haunting work and, in its own way, more relevant than ever. Sheer genius.
After listening to Branagh's dramatic reading of Conrad, everything else pales. The average reader of audio books, especially of fiction, is good as long as he or she doesn't get in the way of the work itself, allowing it to speak for itself. All too often, they are such bumbling idiots that they don't even bother to learn the correct pronunciation of the foreign words that crop up in, say, Conrad or Henry James. This is as true of American as it is of 'native' British readers of English-- and is scandalous enough. But with Branagh, Conrad's tale comes so vividly alive THROUGH him, even as he remains absolutely faithful to its text, that one feels that one is finally reading it--hearing it!-- for the first time. Branagh, with his Shakespearean training, INTERPRETS as he reads, speaks, BECOMES what he narrates. I had to rip myself away from this recording, and, if it had been possible, would not have moved an inch until finishing it. I'm a professor of literature, and I now can't imagine ever teaching THE HEART OF DARKNESS without having my students listen to Branagh's rendering. More, please, more from this great master!
I didn't know what to expect going into this title. Although it isn't my usual literary genre, I really enjoyed the story, and especially the performance by Branagh. It isn't something I would suggest for light reading (or listening), but if you want something to help you ponder the darker side of humanity, this is a lovely tale.
This audio version was definitely better than the print version. Branagh's acting ability breathes life Marlow's character and better projects the central theme of hypocrisy.
I found that the way he voiced Kurtz to be amazing! He created a voice for him that made it more clear why Marlow so struggled with the ambiguities of Kurtz's "unsound methods."
Kenneth Branagh is one of the finest actors of his generation. His voice is like silk and I could listen to him read the phonebook.
A compelling story made all the more so by the narration. This is not the book you had to read in high school, this is the story as I'm sure Conrad meant it to be heard.