We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh | [Joseph Conrad]

Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh

A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

"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.

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1942 )
5 star
 (906)
4 star
 (574)
3 star
 (286)
2 star
 (119)
1 star
 (57)
Overall
4.0 (1655 )
5 star
 (731)
4 star
 (462)
3 star
 (298)
2 star
 (111)
1 star
 (53)
Story
4.5 (1648 )
5 star
 (1085)
4 star
 (351)
3 star
 (142)
2 star
 (40)
1 star
 (30)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Kathleen Valentine Gloucester, MA, United States 09-04-12
    Kathleen Valentine Gloucester, MA, United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2011

    So Many Books, So Little Time

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sheer genius"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prof. Neil Larsen 09-01-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Branagh is the master!"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina United States 08-18-12
    Christina United States 08-18-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A pleasant surprise"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alissa McCarthy Scottsdale, AZ USA 08-13-12
    Alissa McCarthy Scottsdale, AZ USA 08-13-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the very best Audible books I've ever heard"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh?

    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."


    What about Kenneth Branagh’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Sherman, TX, United States 08-13-12
    Martha Sherman, TX, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Listen to Branagh's voice!"
    Would you listen to Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh again? Why?

    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.


    What about Kenneth Branagh’s performance did you like?

    His voice is exquisite. A pleasure to my ears to listen to his voice.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha 08-10-12
    Samantha 08-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Metaphorical genius"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh to be better than the print version?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marlow, he was the teller of the story and the only person that was not good nor was he evil.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naomi 07-23-12
    Naomi 07-23-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy listening"
    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Easy listening after a somewhat tedious description of the setting in the first twenty minutes or so.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    IAN Montreal, Quebec, Canada 07-06-12
    IAN Montreal, Quebec, Canada 07-06-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    117
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "keeper"
    If you could sum up Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh in three words, what would they be?

    Marvelous simply marvelous.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh?

    The horror.


    Have you listened to any of Kenneth Branagh’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    first one. I'll look for more.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Had me so focused on the story and perfomance i almost ran out of gas.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll keep this book ready to listen again. Marvelous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally G. Bergman San Francisco, CA USA 06-25-12
    Sally G. Bergman San Francisco, CA USA 06-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A book I could read again"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Kenmore, WA, United States 06-19-12
    John Kenmore, WA, United States 06-19-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intense absorption"
    What did you love best about Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh?

    Narrator brought a sense of presence to the story. Subtle but strong. Very much enjoyed the voice inflection and variation of character voices.


    Would you recommend Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes. Time well spent listening to this narration.


    What about Kenneth Branagh’s performance did you like?

    An adult speaking to adults. No kiddy voice or old person voice which is non-inteligible. Just a normal person speaking a story. Very enjoyable.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Apocolypse Now.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 91-100 of 131 results PREVIOUS19101114NEXT
Sort by:
  • Amit
    Harrow, United Kingdom
    5/27/11
    Overall
    "Heart of Darkness - Read by Kenneth Branagh"

    I must confess I was initially put off by the "celebrity" author tag, but I am very glad I did get the audiobook. Branagh's reading verged on the lyrical in places - and he makes full use of his theatrical skills.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony
    Sydney, Australia
    1/19/13
    Overall
    "Superb narration of a timeless classic"

    "The horror, the horror" ... timeless classic novel about colonial exploitation and oppression. Beautifully written, full of foreboding from the start. Difficult to switch off; probably best read/heard one uncluttered day from beginning to end as if you were sitting with Marlowe and listening to his tale via Conrad.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • alesdair
    BALLYMENA, United Kingdom
    10/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just great"
    Would you listen to Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh again? Why?

    Branagh is a cut above any other reader I have listened to before


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh?

    If you are a fan of Apocalypse now then you will particularly enjoy understanding where the source material was drawn from.
    No doubt a tale of its time but listened to in that context, massively enjoyable.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ros
    Marlborough, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Brilliant rendition!"

    Conrad's prose in Branagh's voice is a wonderful combination. The power of this novel is enhanced by the actor's sensitive handling of mood and tone. I have found myself listening more than once to some passages, where the author's emotive descriptions reward further attention. The narrative is fast paced and gripping and the creation of atmosphere superb.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    Rickmansworth, Herts, United Kingdom
    4/13/11
    Overall
    "An Old Master Brought to Life"

    This is the story of a young man who takes on the role of ferry boat captain on an African river when Africa was both unexplored and a mystery to the civilised world. As a book it is both compelling and shocking. It has really been brought to life by Kenneth Branagh whose wonderful narration keeps the pace going and brings the personalities of people to life. It satisfies on multiple levels, firstly as a good story, then in the sense that it made me realise how the world had changed since this was written and actually I was listening to a social commentary on the time when Great Britain had an Empire and knowledge of the world was limited. Finally it is a book which variously amused me, made me angry and has left a mark on me unlike many books that are so easily forgettable.
    I will listen again and indeed seek out others from this genre. Well done Audible, good call.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Wras
    Kildonan
    3/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A reminder to question the conceits of culture"

    This is a story laden with history and the shame of that history , also a story that has metamorphosed into Apocalypse Now and Hearts of Darkness: A Film-makers Apocalypse A documentary of the making of the film that resembles some of the struggles in the book. This makes it hard to judge or criticize without those influences prejudicing the commentary.
    It is still a poignant story of the worst of colonial Africa, and the attitudes of the period. but at the beginning the narrator comments about how in the more distant past of Britain they had been the savages of the Roman empire giving us a glimpse that power and abuse are timeless.
    If you have ever wonder why so many animals are nearly extinct this book and its language is a very good example, the companies main interest is ivory but the one word never mention in the book is elephant and all that this men do is collect ivory. The casual and institutionalised abuse of the locals is I am sure described in a very sanitized way, I suspect that the HORROR was much larger. Conrad also describes and inefficient colonial force and wonder why the people of this lands never just wiped them out, it is ponder many writers have made about other conflicts the best reasoning and perhaps the saddest was by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago “ you surrender because you think “It’s a mistake! They will set things right!” but they is just you, the other "they" are not there to set things right but to implement the new regime and so it goes.
    Mr kurtz is not a truly well drawn character and the devotion felt by others seems strange to the modern reader; unlike Kurtz in Apocalypse Now who is charismatic and mad with modern Horror.
    A good book to look back and not forget the unlimited inhumanity of man in the pursuit of profit. A reminder to question the conceits of culture and ideology.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Gloucester, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "A treat for the senses"

    Ever since I first read this novella as part of my studies for A Level English Literature, Conrad's prose transported me to a radically different world where colonial Africa became an arena where mankind itself battled to remain uncorrupted and unaffected by the darker side of humanity. Branagh, as we would expect from a master actor of his calibre, captures this conflict for man's soul excellently as he assumes the character of Marlow and takes us through his journey to Africa, up the snake-like river and into the very heart of darkness.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Howler
    HYDE, United Kingdom
    4/7/12
    Overall
    "Five stars!"

    Superb narration by Kenneth Branagh - he injects such realism into the narrative. He must be my favourite male narrator of all time!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • LorLor
    1/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unforgettable!"

    Not my usual choice of book, but I was gripped from the beginning. Kenneth Brannagh really brought it to life

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Lisbellaw, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "There's Methody in the Madness"

    Terrific performance by Sir KB (an alumnus of Methodist college, Belfast: AKA Methody). Felt dramatic and emotional as apprpriate. The novel is a retelling of a tale and mostly in the storytelling style, hence the appropriateness of the presnetational style.



    The story itself is an interesting story. The film Apocolypse Now, closely follows the story with phrases and even names reused. It clearly is an homage to the book.



    Whilst far from uplifting the story is a good study of morality and mental balance. It length is perfect if you have a long journey and can complete it in one day. It dropped a star because of the style of language of the book. This is unfair as it was written for a contemporary audience, I guess, and language has moved on since then.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 20 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.