This short book is often cited as one of those classics that a well-read person should read. I like classics, and my favorite literature is 19th century, and I love hearing it read to me. (Maybe because this just missed the 19th century, it falls short.) I figured I'd listen to this, especially after I heard it referred to in a lecture series (that I wasn't all that impressed with, either, but that is another matter). However, I found this narration by one character, Marlow, of his experience in Africa quite lacking in adequate plot. You don't really learn much about any characters other than him, the narrator, and even his character is not very developed. Though the Kenneth Branagh does a quite good performance, including varying the voices and accents for some characters, these characters do not contribute enough to make the recitation by Marlow interesting. It is also not really likely that Marlow would imitate the Russian accent, for example, of a particular character in a real telling, but never mind. The only reason I can see that this book has been included on required reading lists in high schools and colleges is that it is short, so students might actually read the whole thing. But for that criterion alone there must be many better selections that this, even for the purpose of discussing colonialism.
Author, reader, listener... interested in Great Books of the Western World, historical fiction, Victorian poetry, and some fiction.
Conrad writes in a slowly unfolding narrative that only reveals enough to keep the reader turning the page. I was slightly off-balance from the beginning. It was a mystery, beautiful writing, exquisite vocabulary (especially for someone writing in his second language).
I was stirred by the themes of human nature, fear, British imperialism and the raping of the African Congo, but I think critics who accuse Conrad of racism miss a deeper perspective. That is, Conrad's protagonist is simply naive, narrow, and blind to a culture and people he doesn't understand. His fear blinds him. That is true of many people throughout history. Marlow is an example.
Branagh is an excellent reader and I was drawn to this because of him. He did not disappoint. I was creeped out by Conrad, but I will certainly read more.
This was a fantastic performance! I felt like a child sitting around a campfire and being told an amazing ghost story!
Kenneth Branagh is truly superb. It is the best audiobook performance I have ever experienced.
Highly recommendable. An excellent book which was among the first to use fiction to portray the atrocities taking place during the colonisation of Africa and in Belgian Congo (contemporary D.R. Congo) in particular.
The language is a bit dated, but Kenneth Brannagh's superb performance makes it an very enjoyable piece of literature.
I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature
Having read the book in high school, it was with keen interest that I listened to this reading. No one could have read it better than Mr. Branagh. And the book was far more interesting than I remembered
When the narrator visits the widow and has to decide how to answer her last question.
No. There were no surprising elements since I was already familiar with the book.
Heart of Darkness is one of my all time favorites. I have purchased and listened to several audio versions but Branagh has out-voiced them all. This is the best version - a must have!!