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Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh Audiobook

Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh

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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

4.2 (3691 )
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Performance
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  •  
    justjill the city of angels, ca 02-11-16
    justjill the city of angels, ca 02-11-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "beautiful"

    scintillating story (of course) and beautiful, measured, non intrusive reading of this extraordinary, seminal piece of fiction. lovely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    @MrBookChief Ireland 01-20-16
    @MrBookChief Ireland 01-20-16 Member Since 2014
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    "A timeless classic in the art of storytelling"
    What made the experience of listening to Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh the most enjoyable?

    The most interesting character was 'off screen' for most of the book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Colonel Kurtz


    Any additional comments?

    This book is undeniably racist in some aspects but more so reflects the ignorance of its time. If you get past this, there is a powerful story about one man's lust for an ultimate and dark power.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DFK 01-07-16
    DFK 01-07-16

    DFK

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    "Overrated book"

    This short book is often cited as one of those classics that a well-read person should read. I like classics, and my favorite literature is 19th century, and I love hearing it read to me. (Maybe because this just missed the 19th century, it falls short.) I figured I'd listen to this, especially after I heard it referred to in a lecture series (that I wasn't all that impressed with, either, but that is another matter). However, I found this narration by one character, Marlow, of his experience in Africa quite lacking in adequate plot. You don't really learn much about any characters other than him, the narrator, and even his character is not very developed. Though the Kenneth Branagh does a quite good performance, including varying the voices and accents for some characters, these characters do not contribute enough to make the recitation by Marlow interesting. It is also not really likely that Marlow would imitate the Russian accent, for example, of a particular character in a real telling, but never mind. The only reason I can see that this book has been included on required reading lists in high schools and colleges is that it is short, so students might actually read the whole thing. But for that criterion alone there must be many better selections that this, even for the purpose of discussing colonialism.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Winslow 01-07-16
    H. Winslow 01-07-16
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    "Best audible I've ever read"
    Any additional comments?

    Amazing narration of an perfectly written book, highest recommendation. I wish I could gift this to everyone I know!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Henderson 12-02-15 Member Since 2014

    Author, reader, listener... interested in Great Books of the Western World, historical fiction, Victorian poetry, and some fiction.

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    "Branagh is fantastic! Well-written, eerie."

    Conrad writes in a slowly unfolding narrative that only reveals enough to keep the reader turning the page. I was slightly off-balance from the beginning. It was a mystery, beautiful writing, exquisite vocabulary (especially for someone writing in his second language).
    I was stirred by the themes of human nature, fear, British imperialism and the raping of the African Congo, but I think critics who accuse Conrad of racism miss a deeper perspective. That is, Conrad's protagonist is simply naive, narrow, and blind to a culture and people he doesn't understand. His fear blinds him. That is true of many people throughout history. Marlow is an example.
    Branagh is an excellent reader and I was drawn to this because of him. He did not disappoint. I was creeped out by Conrad, but I will certainly read more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-24-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Awesome!"
    Any additional comments?

    This was a fantastic performance! I felt like a child sitting around a campfire and being told an amazing ghost story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Neshanic Station, NJ, United States 11-24-15
    Rob Neshanic Station, NJ, United States 11-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredible."

    Kenneth Branagh is truly superb. It is the best audiobook performance I have ever experienced.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaydee Larson 10-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A must-read classic."

    Highly recommendable. An excellent book which was among the first to use fiction to portray the atrocities taking place during the colonisation of Africa and in Belgian Congo (contemporary D.R. Congo) in particular.

    The language is a bit dated, but Kenneth Brannagh's superb performance makes it an very enjoyable piece of literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heART seneca sc 09-21-15
    heART seneca sc 09-21-15 Member Since 2017

    I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature

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    "Kenneth Branagh reads brilliantly!"
    What did you love best about Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh?

    Having read the book in high school, it was with keen interest that I listened to this reading. No one could have read it better than Mr. Branagh. And the book was far more interesting than I remembered


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

    When the narrator visits the widow and has to decide how to answer her last question.


    Which character – as performed by Kenneth Branagh – was your favorite?

    The narrator


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

    No. There were no surprising elements since I was already familiar with the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luv2Sew 08-13-15
    Luv2Sew 08-13-15
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    32
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    "Magnificent"

    Amazing writing. Fantastic narration. A book to hear again and again. Highly recommended for a "can't put it down" listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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