I've tried to read Anna Karenina multiple times, picking it up every 2-3 years, but I'd never made it past the first 2 chapters. When I saw this was narrated by Davina Porter I thought I would give it a try, as I've enjoyed her narration on other books.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't get through it. I made it about 3/4 of the way through before I finally gave up for good, because I just didn't care about any of the 50 million characters or Tolstoy's rambling side stories. It was like listening to a soap opera with the number of intertwined sub-plots, except I just didn't care about any of the characters so I didn't really care to keep listening to find out what happened.
If you have to read this book as a school assignment I would recommend this audiobook of just reading it. But if you have a choice in the matter, find something else to read.
As a side note - other reviews have compared this book to Victor Hugo and mentioned that they both need editors. I actually really like Victor Hugo's work, and find his characters and even side tangents interesting, but this book just doesn't compare, either character or side-story wise.
Absorbing, accessible, tragic.
This epic novel stands alone in its beauty and drama.
Her narration never detracted from the story; her presence was unobtrusive and she let the writing speak for itself.
At 36+ hours, this would be quite an achievement! Actually, no, simply because I liked to savour each chapter as it unfurled before discovering the next. There are many layers to this story and Tolstoy gives us much to think about.
Worth every minute invested in it.
Choose this narration.
Print out a character map. (google)
This is another classic that needed an editor.
I chose this version of Anna Karenina for one reason- It was read by Davina Porter. Her fantastic readings of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series convinced me that her version of Anna Karenina would be the one for me. Davina Porter narrates flawlessly without distracting one from the story- Male or female, French, British or Russian, child or adult... ect.
I gave the story a three because I am glad that I "read" it but the book is just okay. Even with irritating characters , the boring meandering topics and the confusing names, I was intrigued enough to get through the book and be interested enough to find out what happened. I cannot say that about every book.
I wanted to slap all of these whiny, pompous characters. I guess the privileged in any time do act like stupid teenagers that never grow up. So... maybe their actions were reflective of real life people. I had a hard time relating to them many times. I don't believe murder or suicide is the answer in real life but many times, while reading this book, I found my self wishing for either for the characters.
Tolstoy gave the characters first names, last names, middle names and nick names for just about every character. He would refer to a character and I had to figure out who it was by circumstance. I suggest printing out a character map before listening to this book (Google).
I continue reading these old classics and am continually disappointed. Jane Austen is the only exception so far. Writers like Tolstoy and Hugo should have taken a few pointers on story telling and editing from Austen. In my humble opinion, Tolstoy and Hugo could have used editors with a large red pens. As with Les Miserables, this book goes off on tangents that don't have much to do with the story at all like Russian agrarian policy, obscure 19th century philosophers, ruling class ennui and class struggles. However, Anna Karenina's tangents are just little run on sentences when compared with Les Mis's gratuitous chapters and chapters and more chapters on 19th century French politics and sewer system. However, Les Mis's core story is much better than Anna's. I think that these books are wonderful for providing a blurry snapshot of life back then but not all that great reading when compared to so many great books written before and since then.
I never had to read this book in college but had a friend who loved it. Now I know why. I would have been too intimidated by the length of the actual paper book but loved listening to it and "couldn't put it down" so to speak. I found myself wondering about the various characters as I went to sleep at night and thinking about the meaning of true love, marriage, relationships and divorce. I'm eager to use this for a book club meeting b/c the discussion questions are endless.
No, because it's part of history. Even though I found it "meh", it's like seeing a city you don't care if you need see again. It's still nice to have experienced it and make up your own mind.
I would recommend this book only because it's a classic. It's one of those books I didn't remember reading in school. Now I know why. It's always good to read books and see movies that are part of our literary culture but Anna Karenina is one big soap opera. Leo Tolstoy is a force, no doubt about it but in my humble opinion, had this been written today it wouldn't make the best seller list.
She definitely made Anna Karenina easier to get through. Her narration was the best thing about it.
Please no. Tolstoy's dreary in general but this was dreary with no emotional connection.
I'm aware some may want to tar and feather me for saying anything negative about such an esteemed piece of work but if we're not honest with our reviews, what's the point? It's just one person's opinion. I guess "Charles Dickens" is more my speed.
Perfect story telling investigates the depth of personality in the characters. It is easy to get involved in a beautiful story with main characters who are beautiful but human and flawed like everyone else. One of my favourite books of all time.
Very long - couldn't wait for it to end as it just could not hold my interest. I really enjoyed Part 1 and 2 but as the two main characters Anna and Levin seemed to descend into madness it got more and more tedious and boring. I really do not understand why this is considered by many to be the "greatest novel of all time".
As other reviewers have said I could not wait for Anna to end it all as it just seemed to go back and forth over and over and over. As I have read that Levin is based somewhat on Tolstoy's own life it makes me wonder what strange things were going on in his mind in his own life. Definitely a good example of what one says is not necessarily what one is thinking.
I have never listened to an abridged audiobook as I prefer to know all the details but I found it really hard to concentrate on this book as many parts were just so boring and seemingly pointless with regards to the actual storyline.
If I had it to do over I would buy the abridged version of this book.
I was impressed with Tolstoy's style of writing as it was easy to follow when my mind wasn't wandering. It did get a little tedious though how he always refers to everyone by their full names. Would have appreciated English translation of the French dialogue also.
And of course Davina Porter is an excellent narrator which is why I chose this version of the book.
I will definitely NOT be buying War and Peace.
Originally, I chose this version of Tolstoy's classic because I am so fond of Davina Porter's narration, and she did (once again) magnificently. I try to stay away from abridged versions of anything, not wanting to miss any detail the author deemed important. Having said this, I'm not sure I could handle reading any more of Tolstoy unabridged. Holy crow, the man goes on and on at times! There were times when his writing was magical and I felt the emotion of it so powerfully, it overwhelmed me. However, I think you can take description too far, like exaggerated montages on agricultural processes or political maneuvers. If you dislike contention, do not attempt this book. From what I gathered of Tolstoy's perspective, until the last few pages anyways, all that the intellectual people do when they are together is argue. I couldn't help but wish I could have shared my prescription Zoloft with Anna and Levin on many occasions; if those two aren't perfect candidates for anti-anxiety medication, I don't know who is. In Levin, his overactive mind and self-reflection seemed, in the end, to bring him to a peaceful place, but he nearly drove me insane getting there. And, I'll be honest, Anna's descent into madness near the end got more and more difficult for me to listen to; as another reviewer mentioned, I, too, couldn't wait for her to off herself so I could get out of her painfully warped mind. She was so pitiful! I am curious about the lack of closure for many of the important characters, and why Tolstoy didn't tie things up at the end for several of the people critical to the story. Overall, it was worth listening to, even though I am exhausted and relieved it is finally over. I'm not sure I would recommend it to others as highly as many reviewers have, but if you've got over forty hours in which you'd like to indulge in some excessively lengthy and serious Tolstoy reflections, then by all means, go for it.
Tolstoy is a master storyteller who can of bring the full sweep of human drama down to the moment-to-moment level. His characters live the history and you live it through their eyes and hearts. Vivid descriptions of the inner and outer lives of these aristocrats living in pre-revolutionary Russia animate his story, and help you to feel their manners, inhibitions, challenges, and passions. Anna is so deserving of love, so pure in her own love, yet even she cannot sustain the ideal. Her unjust ruin in the eyes of society, the loss of Vronsky's love, and the madness that loss inspires lead to an ending that is sad and unforgettable.