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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.
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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
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  •  
    Krystal 12-12-11
    Krystal 12-12-11
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    2
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    "Great listen! Branagh gives a perfect rendition."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, fun to listen to, this is also a piece many high school, undergraduates, and graduate students study! Great to listen to it in tandem with a focused close reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn S. Daugherty Duluth, MN United States 12-01-11
    Kathryn S. Daugherty Duluth, MN United States 12-01-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Beautiful language, beautifully read"

    The story can be disturbing because of widespread ignorance and prejudice but the author seems to be aware of it. That makes the difficult parts interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Seattle, WA, United States 11-25-11
    Kathleen Seattle, WA, United States 11-25-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Please, please, PLEASE -- more Branagh!"

    This audiobook should come with the following label:

    Warning: listening to this audiobook will permanently raise your standard for narration, and leave you disappointed at most other narrators.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Hideout, UT, United States 10-20-11
    Amazon Customer Hideout, UT, United States 10-20-11 Listener Since 2010

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Wonderful performance by Kenneth Branagh"

    Kenneth Branagh is probably one of the only narrators that could make this story come alive. 5 stars plus! Well worth every penny!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ståle 08-16-11
    Ståle 08-16-11
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    3
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    "Classic book - superbly read"

    A classic which I for a long time have put off reading because I thought it might be too "heavy". I don't think it would have been, but Kenneth Branagh reads it so well I am much inclined to believe it's better to listen to his version than to read it oneself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Burlingame, CA, United States 08-10-11
    Stephen Burlingame, CA, United States 08-10-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Kenneth Branaugh rocks!"

    Heart of Darkness is one of my 5 favorite books; Kenneth Branagh is an amazing talent and clearly put much love and effort into this reading; this book was born to be read this way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 08-08-11
    Matt OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 08-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Classic Novella"

    Branagh was the perfect narrator for this dark novella. I can't listen to this without thinking about Apocalypse Now. Many of the scenes from the movie are taken from the book verbatim.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Chicago, IL, United States 07-31-11
    Clare Chicago, IL, United States 07-31-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Must Listen"

    Wow. This is a stellar reading of this book- Branagh really brings it alive. Worth every penny. Anyone who loves this story should listen to this performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. LeCrone 06-09-11
    K. LeCrone 06-09-11 Member Since 2014

    K

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    "Excellent!"

    This was by far the best way to first experience Conrad's novel! Branagh has such an incredible voice and is able to capture the disturbed awe of the story's narrator so well I literally had goosebumps! Combine Branagh's perfection with Conrad's and it makes for excellent listening! I recommend this book, but especially this recording to everyone!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gloria Chicago, IL, United States 10-24-11
    Gloria Chicago, IL, United States 10-24-11
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    "Absolutely hated this!"

    Yes Kenneth Branagh is a wonderful actor and has a resounding voice. But no actor could have made me enjoy this story. I was so bored with it, I stopped listening after 1 hr. Sorry I purchased this.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 101-110 of 121 results PREVIOUS110111213NEXT
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  • 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.

    5 of 5 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.

    12 of 14 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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • alesdair
    BALLYMENA, United Kingdom
    10/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "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.


    2 of 2 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.

    2 of 2 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.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 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!

    1 of 1 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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SnapWriter
    London, UK
    1/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Definitive Performance"

    So lucky to have Branagh read Conrad. An actor of this caliber is a gift, and amazon's download the text service completes the experience,

    Branagh gives a haunting, mesmerising performance.

    I can't wait to find more of his readings.

    A must download.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 17 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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