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Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh Audiobook

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.
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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

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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Carleen Knoxville 03-10-13
    Carleen Knoxville 03-10-13
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    "Heart of Happiness as I Listened"

    Being a fan of both Conrad and Branaugh, this version was music to my ears. I felt that Branaugh's voice lended itself well to the tone, atmosphere, and overall mood of Heart of Darkness. It was like having a disturbing fairy tale read to me at bedtime by the voice of a godlike figure. Most enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wanda Phillips Seattle, WA 02-24-13
    Wanda Phillips Seattle, WA 02-24-13

    Enjoying life, sharing joy, and shaping compassion in each moment.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant!"

    Branagh does an award-winning job with this gripping story. His timing and inflection lift the words from the page and first you're there listening to a friend tell a story, then you're deep into the experience described. Conrad's writing is spare without being barren; it is evocative and spell-binding.
    An excellent combination of story and reader.
    Because my education was fragmented and left me with gaping holes, I'd never read "Heart of Darkness" and having chosen this route into excavating into the ruins of my deficit I am more than well pleased, I'm actually grateful.
    Reading a book on your own depends on your ability to enter into the world the writer has created; to suspend disbelief requires talent and skill on the part of the writer *and* the reader. This is why movies flourish while the books, the written stories that "inspire" the movie languish unread in libraries and bookstores. I am, generally, a willing and eager reader, attributes that make reading my primary entertainment. Listening to audiobooks was an experiment I undertook when I found that my physical limitations reduced my ability to carry books, concentrate on stories, and immerse myself in the world created for me.
    Kenneth Branagh is a talented reader and Joseph Conrad is a talented writer, together they carried me into the Heart of Darkness. I hope they can do the same for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine 02-15-13
    George dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine 02-15-13
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    "Just Great"

    Altought horrible the story is grippig as it raises and ponders over some of eternal philosophical questions. I don't want to make any comments. It's surely worth reading and I advise everybody to do so.
    Narration is performed by legendary Kenneth Branagh and he has done a good job.
    What else can be said...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keenan Cherokee, North Carolina, United States 02-02-13
    Keenan Cherokee, North Carolina, United States 02-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "My first audio book"
    If you could sum up Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh in three words, what would they be?

    Great introduction book


    What did you like best about this story?

    Good storytelling.


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

    No I haven't but I enjoyed this one.


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

    Yes, but I listened to it in two sittings.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first audio book I've ever listened to. The book was recommended to me by my dad (he read the story). He thought it would be a good way to start because it is a good book and not really long compared to other audio books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew United States 01-31-13
    Andrew United States 01-31-13
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    "An Excellent Find!"
    Would you listen to Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh again? Why?

    I would definitely listen to Heart of Dearkness over again! Branagh embodies the looming darkness that overshadows the novel as a whole and keeps a listener absorbed throughout its entirety. Wonderful find!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer CHAMBERSBURG, PA, United States 01-29-13
    Amazon Customer CHAMBERSBURG, PA, United States 01-29-13
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    "Excellent Story Telling"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh to be better than the print version?

    No, Both were very good. It was nice to read along as the story was read, or just sit back and listen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I haven't finished book yet


    What about Kenneth Branagh’s performance did you like?

    The way he made you feel the characters he was reading


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

    nothing extreme, it did make me chuckles a few times


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig S. Walker 01-02-13

    writer & director

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    "Branagh is excellent."
    Where does Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What does Kenneth Branagh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis MANASSAS, VA, United States 12-28-12
    Travis MANASSAS, VA, United States 12-28-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Meh."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lenny Methuen, MA, United States 12-25-12
    Lenny Methuen, MA, United States 12-25-12
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    "Bravo, Branagh!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Edwards Frankfort, Kentucky USA 12-19-12
    Charles Edwards Frankfort, Kentucky USA 12-19-12
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    3
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    "Sounds familiar."
    Would you listen to Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh again? Why?

    Yes. For all you fans of Apocalypse Now, this is going to sound very familiar.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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