"The horror! The horror!" In this brooding and justly celebrated novella of 1902, seaman Charles Marlow is cruising quietly down the Thames at dusk with some friends. As night begins to fall, he tells them of his harrowing journey down an African river in search of the unscrupulous and near-legendary ivory trader named Kurtz, a quest deep into inky spiritual and symbolic darkness. Acclaimed Irish actor/director Kenneth Branagh impersonates Marlow in this recording. Admirably, while fully playing the drama, he never goes overboard. He plays the tale for the great yarn that it is. But had he taken more cognizance of its trajectory and subtleties, he would have made the listening experience far richer than he has.
Prose that demands to be read aloud requires a special kind of narrator. For the Audible Signature Classics edition of Joseph Conrad’s atmospheric masterpiece, Heart of Darkness, we called upon four-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh.
Branagh’s performance is riveting because he reads as though he’s telling a ghost story by a campfire, capturing the story’s sense of claustrophobia, while hinting at the storyteller Marlow’s own creeping madness. Heart of Darkness follows Captain Marlow into the colonial Congo where he searches for a mysterious ivory trader, Kurtz, and discovers an evil that will haunt him forever.
With this landmark work, Conrad is credited with bringing the novel into the twentieth century; we think Branagh brings it into the twenty-first.
Stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind performances from actors David Hyde Pierce, Leelee Sobieski, Tim Curry, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.
Listen to more Audible Signature Classics.
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"Acclaimed Irish actor/director Kenneth Branagh impersonates Marlow in this recording. Admirably, while fully playing the drama, he never goes overboard. He plays the tale for the great yarn that it is." (AudioFile)
It's a pity that whoever prepared the text for the narrator felt it necessary to promote political correctness over the author's original language. As a result, I didn't enjoy Kenneth Branagh voice as much as I usually do.
Yes, Kenneth Branagh performance was the best I have ever heard. I have read this book several times and enjoyed it the most in this audio version.
Heart of Darkness is a classic, confronting the Hypocrisy of Imperialism in a suspenseful and enlightening drama. That explores the ambiguity, and moral confusion in a story within a story. I loved the description and changing of tempo and voice that Branagh used throughout the novella.
His changing of tempo and voice for the different characters, the wonderful use of silence in his construction of his presentation of the novella.
I remember reading this book years ago in high school, and I liked the book back then, but I debated whether it would be worth it to get this audiobook just to listen to something I've already read over ten years ago. I have absolutely no regrets over the purchase, and would recommend it to anyone in a similar position, for three main reasons:
1. The average (i.e. there are certainly exceptions) American high school student is not mature enough to adequately understand of the darkness which this book attempts to portray. From my experience the vast majority of high schoolers power through books, expending as little energy as possible to achieve the best grade possible. As an adult reading it for leisure, I found the book significantly more thought-provoking and meaningful.
2. Because the vast majority of the text is the words of one character speaking to other men, the words come across clear when spoken out loud. His language is eloquent and vivid, but at all times it's believable as the words of a sailor. This not only makes it more entertaining, but also more understandable. When reading the book I found it easy to miss things, not so much for their complexity as for their unfamiliarity, by virtue of being written by a British person in the late 1800's. I found that the manner in which the words were read gave me additional cues to help my understanding, such that even if I didn't understand a particular word or expression used, it didn't derail me from the main story.
3. Any fan of Apocalypse Now will love this book. I felt a deepening appreciation of the brilliance of the movie comes as I dove deeper into the world of Marlow and Kurtz. In the same way Dr. Strangelove came from Kubrick's particular reading of the book Red Alert, the way he saw the Vietnam War within this book is profound.
Branagh delivers the necessary dreamlike, nightmare qualities demanded by Conrad's dark classic. Highly recommended.
I wasn't sure Kenneth Branagh was going to do this justice - he can be a little over emphatic and lofty sometimes. I was wrong, he lowered his tempo and adopted a more common voice that fit the characters beautifully.
Yes, this text is definitely worth revisiting. It is a journey of man and exploration of his nature, along with the theme of obsession, it is a perfect novel. It is written with elevated language and is beautifully poetic yest aggressive in style.
Kurt is the character obsessed about and as the journey progresses the reader is as eager as the narrator to meet him.
Kenneth Branagh brings his acting skills to the fore with Kurt, he keeps within keeping of Marlin Brando's interpretation of Kurt in 'Apocalypse Now', the film adaptation from the 'Heart of Darkness.'
A journey of dark dreams.
This book is worth studying and comparing at A level and IB level.
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