Audiobook Review: Heart of Darkness

Audiobook Review: Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Narrator: Kenneth Branagh
Length: 3 hrs, 51 mins
Published by Audible on November 23, 2010
Genres: Classics
Format: Audiobook
Source: Gifted
Goodreads
one-star

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.

Story:
Back in high school, senior year I believe, Heart of Darkness was one of the instrument so torture with which the teachers gave us great pain. I hated it. It’s nothing that I’m interested in. The writing is pompous, but I don’t find it beautiful. The narrative is racist, as it would be, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I’m going to be entirely truthful here and say that I don’t get this story. In class, we sat and analyzed it. I even remember some of our analyses, but, still, the story has little meaning to me. I just can’t relate to it or enjoy it in any way.

Performance:
If you have to read Heart of Darkness, I heartily recommend letting Kenneth Branagh read it to you. Actually, this is not the first time I have listened to this book. In high school, I read it out loud to myself, because that was the only way I could make the page-long sentences resolve into meaning for me at the time. While I am one of the best narrators ever, I probably preferred Branagh.

I mean, his voice is amazing! The editing of this audiobook was unfortunately not perfect. They didn’t do a great job with the breathing, but that’s pretty easy to tune out. More disconcerting were the constant changes in volume. I would realize that Branagh had gotten very quiet and would be thinking about turning up the volume when suddenly Bam! it would be all extra loud. Do not turn up the volume or it will be REALLY loud. You have been warned.

2 responses to “Audiobook Review: Heart of Darkness”

  1. Abdulaziz says:

    Heart of Darkness By Joseph Conrad [Download-PDF-Online Reading-Summary]: https://www.toevolution.com/file/view/2174/heart-of-darkness-by-joseph-conrad-download-pdf-online-reading-summary: The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took an assignment abroad from a Belgian trading company as captain of a ferry boat in Africa. Although Conrad does not specify the name of the river, at this time Congo Free State, the location of the great and important Congo River, was a private colony of the Belgian King Leopold II. Marlow is used to transporting ivory downstream; however, his most pressing task is to return Kurtz, another ivory merchant, to civilization in a cover-up. Kurtz is famous throughout the region. Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novel by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a trip down the Congo River to the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the storyteller Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a ship anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This configuration provides the framework for Marlow’s story of his obsession with the ivory merchant Kurtz, which allows Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness. Focused on Conrad’s work is the idea that there is little difference between the so-called civilized people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises questions about imperialism and racism. Originally published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood’s Magazine to celebrate the thousandth edition of the magazine, Heart of Darkness has been widely reissued and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness as number sixty-seven on its list of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.

  2. Zizou says:

    Heart of Darkness By Joseph Conrad [Download-PDF-Online Reading-Summary]: https://www.toevolution.com/file/view/2174/heart-of-darkness-by-joseph-conrad-download-pdf-online-reading-summary
    The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took an assignment abroad from a Belgian trading company as captain of a ferry boat in Africa. Although Conrad does not specify the name of the river, at this time Congo Free State, the location of the great and important Congo River, was a private colony of the Belgian King Leopold II. Marlow is used to transporting ivory downstream; however, his most pressing task is to return Kurtz, another ivory merchant, to civilization in a cover-up. Kurtz is famous throughout the region. Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novel by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a trip down the Congo River to the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the storyteller Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a ship anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This configuration provides the framework for Marlow’s story of his obsession with the ivory merchant Kurtz, which allows Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness. Focused on Conrad’s work is the idea that there is little difference between the so-called civilized people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises questions about imperialism and racism. Originally published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood’s Magazine to celebrate the thousandth edition of the magazine, Heart of Darkness has been widely reissued and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness as number sixty-seven on its list of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.

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