Some books lend themselves to audio performances more than others, the difference being whether the writing is so dense that, if one were reading it, one would have to pause and go back over certain passages. Heart of Darkness lies close to the edge of what one can absorb in a single listening, because it demands quite a lot of thought and consideration, yet while one is considering the narrative is moving on. On the other hand, the fact that it is mostly supposed to be narrated by Marlow in a moored ship at night makes the audio version in many ways eerily appropriate. I'd read the novel many years ago, without, I think now, fully understanding it then. I've listened to this version twice now, both times with great enjoyment and profit, although the second listening was really necessary.
One of the things that Branagh does best is convey the moments in which the narrator, Marlow, finds his mind racing with excitement, so that even where his narrative loses some rational clarity (not Branagh's voice, which is always perfectly lucid), it gains in a sense of emotional urgency.
Good performance. Well-written story. I guess it just wasn't my style of book. Or perhaps it would've been better if I had listened to all three in order.
Kenneth Branagh truly takes us into the "Heart of Darkness" in a splendid reading. We feel the power of Conrad's prose, and the graphic descriptions enable us to sense the climate, the heat, and the darkness.
One cannot escape the inevitable questions with which we are left at the end of this tale. As much as I revere the work as a literary classic, I have long felt there was something "missing" -- or, perhaps more accurately, that I had "missed" something. I suspect that what I should really have liked (impractical as it may be) were Branagh's own insights into the character of Marlowe and the tale he told. Then again, perhaps I should also have appreciated Conrad's, too.
These subjective musings should in no way reflect negatively upon the production. The work is a classic, and this presentation is superb.
Yes. For all you fans of Apocalypse Now, this is going to sound very familiar.
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