Conrad's language inhabits his narrator, Marlowe, creating a man haunted not only by what he has experienced but by the dark complex of a flawed driven soul. Branagh with his reading literally transports us, shows us what and whom Marlowe lived and almost died for. Marlowe found not only the man, the paradox of Kurtz, but the uncomfortable truth of how such a man has power for good as for evil, for elevating and exploiting, affecting and unforgettable story elevated even higher by Branaghs performance.
Do not overlook
I would put this on the same level as any Neil Gaiman listen I've ever heard (with the exception of full-cast reads). This narrator is Marlow and if you close your eyes while you're listening, you will feel the fog, hear the steam whistle and shouts from the natives.
Kenneth Branagh brings an intensity and humanizing factor that elevates this story. It may have been boring reading it in school but he will bring the story alive so you can experience it, not just skim through it for homework.
I didn't listen in one sitting but could've if I had that kind of time.
I wondered why some books are read by actors. Now I know they are great story tellers. They take the authors words and make them their own. He really made me see the authors intent. Thanks for making the piece come alive.
scintillating story (of course) and beautiful, measured, non intrusive reading of this extraordinary, seminal piece of fiction. lovely.
The most interesting character was 'off screen' for most of the book
This book is undeniably racist in some aspects but more so reflects the ignorance of its time. If you get past this, there is a powerful story about one man's lust for an ultimate and dark power.
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.