"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)
Absolutely would recommend. A classic story, brilliantly read.
This is not a book where a character is a "favorite". That's not a bad thing
I'm not usually a fan of Branagh, but his performance here is incredible. As someone else wrote, he tells this as if it's a ghost story. Completely compelling.
Just overall extreme pleasure in the telling
It's not a story that fills in every detail.... in some ways you want more.
I enjoy history, biographys, and nerdy/ dorky things.
Average, to below average. For its time I'm sure it was a great short story. By modern standards it falls short.
The comparison of going farther down river, symbolized the greed for wealth, and the darkness in a mans heart.
Mr. Branagh was exceptional. I am a fan of his, and would like to find more audio books he has narrated.
When the boat was attacked in the dark by natives.
For a quick listen this book was ok. I wish I would have paid for this title, and not used a credit. It falls a bit short, and ends very dull.
Yes and probably will. This was a great quick listen. The Branagh did a superb job.
My favorite caracter was Manager Kurtz. He was just so intriguing. As soon as you meet him a million questions fill your head. It makes it even more fun to listen to when you picture him as Marlon Brando. (Coppola's Apocalypse Now was adapted after this story)
I thought Conrad did an excellent job of depicting how mythical and mysterious equatorial Africa was, "It had become a place of darkness. But there was in it one river especially, a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land...but I could not shake off the idea. The snake had charmed me."
This was a great listen. It is written the way that adventure stories are supposed to be written. You really get inside the characters heads. The descriptions of the surroundings, the people, their interactions with each other and the mystery and intrigue are what make Heart of Darkness a tale for the ages.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
Seeing how the book itself is a piece of the English literary canon, I doubt my insights will be that interesting and new. Briefly, the story comprises a boat captain's trek into the African interior during the British colonial period. He comes to hear stories about an exceptional colonial agent who has been living in the deep interior and who has become changed by the experience.
Branagh's retelling is ok. I don't feel that his voice adds too much to the story. It is well done with good rhythm and enunciation. He is obviously a skilled actor and his voice is nice, but I wasn't blown away.
Intelligence, professionalism, understanding
I was awed by the enormity of the setting
Would that people still knew how to write prose such as this.
Serious but fun how is that possible? What is behind the curtain? Perhaps someone should write a precursor story to this.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
"Apocalypse Now" was based on this. Yes, that movie put it into a more modern view with Vietnam instead of the Congo, but after reading the V.S. Naipaul's book, "A Bend in the River" plus the Kingsolver book, "Poisonwood Diary", I think the Congo is more horrifying. The confusion, the darkness, "the Horror".
Marlowe's telling of this tale makes it an amazing ghost story. The listener characters melt away as Marlowe tells the horrific story of madness that he seems to still be dealing with. The end, when Marlowe is faced with the profound grief of Kurtz' intended and lies to her about his last word is moving. Was Marlowe true to the memory of Kurtz? I believe so.
Branaugh's narration was just as brilliant as I had expected.
Yes I think I would. It was relatively short and the narration was just wonderful.
The most interesting part was wondering if he would ever reach his goal, finding Kurtz. The least interesting part was what he saw along the way, I kind of zoned out during those parts.
Everything! I have listened to over 150 books on Audible, and this was by far the best narration ever. His tone of voice, his pace, everything was perfect.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men...
I could listen to anything Kenneth Branagh reads. He could read me the stock quotes and I would be riveted.
Eclectic and mindful. Enjoy literary forensics with an eye on how the effects of postmodern deconstruction shapes our worldview.
Yes, the story is riveting. Especially if one has spent time in remote areas of the world and experienced the lens of Conrad. Branagh's brings the story to life while keeping the connection while Conrad's Victorian cultural worldview.
Stephen Mitchell's performance of the Tao Te Ching.
He is a professional storyteller.
The indifference Conrad highlights that 'first-world' travelers have on other cultures and role of the expat that endures to this day.
I absolutely recommend it. One, the story is one of the best. Two, it is finally done in audio.
It is incomparable to anything else. It is one-of-a-kind.
While I'm not a huge movie fan of his (he's overly dramatic when he acts)... But for an audiobook, he is perfect, he did an excellent job on this audiobook, far better than any other rendition on Audible. This is the one to get.
All of it was great!
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