"for people with a lot of time on their hands"
Without wishing to state the obvious, you need a lot of time to listen to the story from beginning to end. There are lots of characters, lots of settings, lots of dramatic moments and a lot of historical references.
I had the time and enjoyed it very much. I'm not sure why it's such a celebrated novel. The story just goes on and on. There are also extended passages that border on the philosophical. I'm pretty sure I would never have had the patience to read this story in paper form.
A very pleasantly read story by Neville Jason: absolutely absorbing and enthralling listening!
I had read the book in the past and I loved it but this is one of those cases where the story gains a lot from the reading from an actor...
I would recommend it.
"A great book, beautifully read."
I seldom award five stars to anything - on the premise that there is always room for improvement - but I have broken my rule in the case of Neville Jason's reading of War and Peace.
This is a very long book but Jason never flags. He manages the female characters convincingly (not easy for a male reader without sounding ridiculous) and possesses a first class command of accents. I was especially impressed with his reading of the great set piece passages in the book: battles, the hunt etc.
Thoroughly recommended; I am now embarking on Volume Two.
"better with an an abridged version?"
This is a VERY long book.
One of the reasons for this is that large sections of the book deal with Tolstoy's version of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, his views on Napoleon (he does not like him at all), the Russian general and the forces of history - all quite interesting but not at such inordinate length - I gave up with two hours to go when I realised that the actual story had finished! In between, 'War and Peace' is a timeless story rightly famed and deserving of classic status (though my own view is that 'Anna Karenina' is a far better book).
I dont normally like let alone recommend abridged versions, but I think this case is an exception; the book without the historical interludes would be about half the length, and much of the narrative of the story itself could be trimmed without losing too much. So unless you are a particular lover of Tolstoy, I would opt for a shortened version.
The length is not helped by what I thought was a rather one-paced and dry narration, with little distinction drawn between the various characters.
"An epic reading"
This is a superb reading. All too often with very long works read as audiobooks the monotonous, mechanical tone of the reader gives the impression that the words come out of the mouth without ever going anywhere near the mind. But Neville Jason proves to be an ideal reader for such a vast and varied novel. The narration is constantly sensitive to the tone and pace of Tolstoy's writing and he has an impressive skill in differentiating and giving a plausible voice to each of the many characters. Even readers who are very familiar with the text will find this reading illuminates scene after scene.
As for the novel itself recommendation is superfluous for anyone who has once read this marvellous book. I can think of very few other novels that leave the reader with so vivid a sense of lived experience and once read forever haunt the imagination. But if anyone has been deterred from undertaking such a lengthy work this excellent audiobook may well prove the ideal way to get to know one of the supreme(and most enjoyable) masterpieces of world literature.
"One of the great historical novels"
Moving, entertaining, enthralling.
It is impossible to choose a favourite character - their stories weave in and out of each other's with such skill. Each character is loveable and flawed, fully human as only Tolstoy can write them.
"War and Peace vol 1"
Absolutely compelling! Beautifully written, intelligently translated, nicely read. My first foray into War and Peace. Why did I wait 53 years?
"Very well read"
Beautifully narrated this wonderful story has had me captivated, I can't wait to listen to volume 2. I'll look out for books narrated by Neville Jason in future.
"A five star treat"
This is almost as wonderful as reading the book yourself. Knicks the socks off the BBC adaptation and although it seems a huge undertaking it is so beautifully read that the time whizzes by and one is swept along by Tolstoy' s descriptive prose. Treat yourself!
"What a way to experience War and Peace!"
Impossible made possible!
Ulysses, because of its daunting length for a slow reader.
For a partially dyslexic reader whose concentration fails and whose mind drifts off such a "slow" story with so many characters to sort out, this medium simply makes it possible for me to "read" a book I would be otherwise unable to do. I can listen to each section several times while walking or gardening, and Neville Jason brings the characters to life for me. Eventually the book becomes a whole, clearly-detailed canvas. The story is about Russian bourgeoisie, and, as I detest the inequality embodied in class systems - and think everyone else should do so too - if I could concentrate enough to read it myself I would no doubt "import" my own cynicism and distaste for the super-rich into my reading. I have only given 4 stars because, while the reading is perfect, I almost get the feeling that Jason admires and loves most of the characters, and has no sympathy for their minimally-presented servants where they occasionally interact.
But maybe he is trying to portray them as he supposes Tolstoy intended, and perhaps it should, in fact, be the listener's job to "process" his colourful interpretations in the way the listener wants to. Listening rather than reading does not, I don't think, inhibit this processing.
It has just become possible for me to "see" events involved in the 1812 invasion and "read" Tolstoy's famous novel from cover to cover! For that I am truly grateful.