"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.
Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"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)
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.
I might listen again only because I don't "listen" as well as I "read" a book. I seem to pay more attention when I read than when I listen, maybe because I'm more of a visual than auditory learner.
His voice is exquisite. A pleasure to my ears to listen to his voice.
Listening really helped me understand what was actually going on. This book is a really rough read and if your tripping over yourself reading it you'll never understand, the audio really really helps you to get whats going on and get the metaphors that go with it.
Marlow, he was the teller of the story and the only person that was not good nor was he evil.
Marvelous simply marvelous.
first one. I'll look for more.
Had me so focused on the story and perfomance i almost ran out of gas.
I'll keep this book ready to listen again. Marvelous.
The writing is so powerful and the performance by Kenneth Branagh so exceptional that I could read this book again and again just as I might enjoy again seeing a favorite Broadway play. This was entertainment at its best.
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