I had already read War and Peace twice in the course of my life and had modest expectations of listening to it read for me. Neville Jason well surpassed those expectations. He reads the book splendidly and had me listening with great pleasure. I am grateful to him.
Neville Jason inhabits Tolstoy's characters - old and young women and men alike - such that throughout their evolution, joys and sorrows, they are all very much brought alive.
I laughed out loud many times and laughed yet again at how familiar character traits are.
Jason makes these come alive and brings out Tolstoy's themes regarding our human nature, as well as the natures of truth and history through his timing and pacing.
I am eager to hear additional work by Mr. Jason ... Proust, here I come.
I am very impressed with the narrator/reader. As others have commented, he manages to maintain a separate voice for dozens of characters. With a story this long and complex, it is a huge help for keeping track of who's who.
At first I found it odd that he tends to use British accents for the various characters, but as the story unfolds, it made perfect sense (in an odd way). For a English speaking audience, who can tell the difference between the accent of a Russian aristocrat or peasant? But, we can instantly understand the class of British character as soon as they start to speak. Add a slight cockney accent and we immediately know "this is a peasant character speaking"
Again, I thought it odd at first too, but came to love it. Very, very well done.
The story is good, though famously long. I have always loved reading, but I personally doubt I would have finished this if it were a book. This is a case of a story being infinitely better in audio, because of the superb skills of the reader.
this seemed daunting at first but it flew past. The characters are very strong and the reader makes them all come alive. He makes spoiled girl tantrums and stuffy society jokes surprisingly fun!
I know this is a classic book and I should be able to read it and like it, however, it does not hold my attention. Five stars for this narrator, though. He has the fantastic ability to differentiate the many characters, going back and forth between accents, genders, ages, speech impediments, and vocal tones seamlessly. It's truly amazing, but even he could not make this book interesting enough for me although I probably gave it more of a chance because of his talents.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
OK, it's long - really long. But there is a good reason why so many people over the years have considered "War and Peace" to be one of the greatest works of fiction ever.
I read it years ago, as an English major, and mostly was just glad to be able to say I'd made it through. But this time, through Audible, I have a clearer view of why it's so impressive, aside from the sheer length. Tolstoy is not just a story teller here; he's a brilliant historian, a sociologist and philosopher, and a point-on observer of the human mind and heart.
First time, I pretty much focused on the plot. Although there are nearly countless characters to try to keep track of, the lives, fortunes, and love adventures of the major ones make for a classic romance - and they are what most abridgements and movie versions of "War and Peace" have concentrated upon.
What really captured my attention in this listen and this time through, however, was the "War." I'm not much of a fan, generally, of battle accounts and the who-was-where-and-why of war stories, but Tolstoy here gives just a genius analysis of the emotions of men in battle and the futility of planning and strategy in what is actually all confusion. Listening to the story, the phrase "fog of war" takes on real meaning. Tolstoy brings the fortunes of war down to their most basic - who is most motivated to fight. The defeat and tragedy of Napoleon's troops is the "same old, same old" story: Generals can plan and plan all they want, but what really matters is the will of ordinary soldiers to defend what means most to them - their homes, families, and native country. Invaders in foreign lands are always at a severe disadvantage, and determined gorilla warfare in defense of the homeland is most likely to prevail.
How much death, pain and expense the world would have been spared since the Napoleonic era had more people read and taken the lessons of Tolstoy to heart!
Neville Jason is a wonderful narrator. This book is a wild ride and a full course study. Persevere, because you'll be a different person when you come out the other side of "War and Peace."
Excellent. Engaging, and Entrancing. The reader creates distinctive accents and vocal styles for each character, and makes it so that you need not even know whom the speaker is to identify the speaker. I have always wanted to read this book, and cannot recommend this enough.
When you ask someone if they had read "war and peace" they usually shudder at the thought of a tome that weighs more than a small child, however this audiobook makes such a large work highly enjoyable.
Impossible to categorize this huge work. A beautifully written historical novel of the Russian aristocracy, woven together with a carefully detailed examination of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, battle by battle, and lastly Tolstoy's theories on how and why these events occurred.
The scope of this book is stunning, the characters unforgettable. Although more approachable than I anticipated, the exhaustive historical detail and Tolstoy's emphatic philosophical discourses make this more than a little challenging.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, absolutely recommend it, and will probably revisit it sometime in the future. Right now, however, I'm ready for some mindless escapism!!
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
First, Audible offers this novel as two books, which I did not realize when I purchased Volume 1. When I came to the end and realized the story was unfinished and I was out of credits, the representative was good enough to advance me a credit for Volume 2 so I could keep going. Don't make my mistake; purchase both at the same time.
Tolstoy opens a whole world to the readers, and once you enter, you find yourself inhabiting the country and the times, becoming a part of every social strata, and feeling affected by all aspects of Russian life. Living this masterpiece was a wondrous experience for me. The characters are so vivid, you care about what happens to them after you've read the last page.
I tell my clients that authors have three primary responsibilities: to inform, entertain, and evoke emotions from the readers. No one could do a better job of all three than Tolstoy in this amazing novel.
Very new to audio books, this only was my sixth. But, throughout my life, this novel has stood there as my unreachable goal, always calling to me as something so remarkable to those who had the interest and tolerance for reading, which I so woefully lacked.
It is done now; and, how sad and deprived I now feel with the loss of these characters who were so pervasive in my life during the past seven weeks. They never lived but even if they did, they would have died some 200 years ago. And yet I strongly felt their joys, misfortunes and their loss. Such is the power of the detail and care in which Tolstoy crafted their stories - in war and in peace. I am tempted to restart at the beginning but know that I should wait to revisit later.
Neville Jason's reading was masterful. I can only imagine his ability to maintain the characters as he did over such a lengthy recording process to be the result of great intimacy and caring for them and for the reader. The gradual and natural aging of their voices over the course of their lives was handled with great artistry.
Should you have the time and will to commit to this vast work over a period of time, it is worth the epic journey.