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Editorial 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.

Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • heART
  • seneca sc
  • 09-21-15

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.

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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

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  • Kipling
  • Jackson, WY United States
  • 07-28-15

Best of the Best

Heart of Darkness is one of my all time favorites. I have purchased and listened to several audio versions but Branagh has out-voiced them all. This is the best version - a must have!!

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always a good read

Kenneth Branagh turns this amazing story into a terrific and gripping presentation. wonderful job, you won't stop listening.

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History Needed before Reading

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

Story was interesting but much better after I read the history of the Belgium Congo. Heard the story a second time with more insight and understanding. This was an important historical novel because it shed light on the abuses of the Europeans towards the native population.

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Magnificent

As if the story itself were not compelling enough, Branagh's performance draws one in and makes one feel a part of the story itself. Truly magnificent.

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Class assignment

have to write a essay. narrator did an excellent job. story was very dark in to the souls of man kind.

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Great story, somewhat redacted

It's a pity that whoever prepared the text for the narrator felt it necessary to promote political correctness over the author's original language. As a result, I didn't enjoy Kenneth Branagh voice as much as I usually do.

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I only wish this had been the full version!

I would listen to Kenneth Branaugh read anything, even, God help me, 50 Shades of Grey.
His rendition of this classic is magnificent. Listen and be awed.

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Amazing loved the performance

Would you consider the audio edition of Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh to be better than the print version?

Yes, Kenneth Branagh performance was the best I have ever heard. I have read this book several times and enjoyed it the most in this audio version.

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

Heart of Darkness is a classic, confronting the Hypocrisy of Imperialism in a suspenseful and enlightening drama. That explores the ambiguity, and moral confusion in a story within a story. I loved the description and changing of tempo and voice that Branagh used throughout the novella.

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

His changing of tempo and voice for the different characters, the wonderful use of silence in his construction of his presentation of the novella.

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

Yes