A seeker of wisdom, a theorist of husbandry, a traveler of distant lands - a bit eclectic...
1) A penetrating analysis of human nature
2) A heartfelt search for the true meaning of life
3) A beautifully written story that evokes the full spectrum of one's emotions
4) An incredible performance by David Horovitch
5) One of the rare audiobooks I plan to listen to again, and perhaps again
Reason and observation, says the wise Qoheleth of old, compels one to admit that there is no enduring satisfaction under the sun. The whole of natural life per se, he proceeds to elaborate, offers only an enticing, and often very believable, mirage, viz., that some cause or some ambition or some ideal state, will somehow attain some lasting value, will somehow provide complete and enduring fulfillment. Upon recognition, one often finds this a rather repulsive and untimely sense of reality, and thus one finds it more convenient to suspend belief in the said recognition in order that life may find have some significance; others may even try to come to grips with the implications. For the latter there is a shocking, seemingly contradictory, discovery: a desire for the ideal state in spite of it having no ultimate point.
Rarely have I found a more penetrating, painful, but liberating exposition of this idea of the ‘vanity of life’ than in Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”. Mr. Tolstoy’s genius is displayed as he eloquently guides his readers through the exhilarating emotional heights experienced in the passionate pursuit of the ideal state, and, then, to the slow, terrible recognition of it all - futility. So intense is the description that one is made to almost believe that it is one’s own inner self being so vividly exposed to the delusion of a heretofore satisfactory and delightful sense of purpose. There is no escape: one must mentally relive the joy and the horror of it to the bitter end. Yet, through it all there is Konstantin Levin, whose views shall likely never be in vogue with society, but nevertheless finally begins to see a way out of the madness of vanity.
David Horovitch's narration is built of the rare stuff that carries one directly into the very time and place - a captivating and exciting world of 'real life' characters. Simply put, its some of the best reading I've heard...
After two really poor books I reverted to the classics – and it was good. Tolstoy is a great writer – even in translation his mastery of language, imagery and characterisation is unquestionable. The book really does not seem long – there is a pace and drive about the narrative. Quite simply, it is a picture of late 19th century Russian nobility and the social pressures brought to bear on individuals when they dare to act in favour of their hearts instead of convention. We witness the progressive mental decline of Anna as opium, guilt and societal pressure corrode her consciousness. There are also fascinating sub-plots which reveal the growing sense of discomfort that some landowner felt about the exploitation of the peasants. There are also some tedious passages about the rural land management mechanisms but generally it is clearly an outstanding piece of literature. The narrator, David Horovitch, is the best narrator I have ever heard on audio. He brings out the subtleties of the text and bring the characters to life - a superb actor.
I (very thankfully) bought this after giving up on Lorna Raver's impossibly bad reading. Horovitch is masterful in every way, and even has enough linguistic ability to pull off the French passages quite well. (He is less successful in German but thankfully very little of that in the book so nothing lost there.)
Most impressive is his ability to invent, and maintain, distinct voices and accents for an incredibly wide variety of characters.
I cannot imagine finding a better reading than this one, and I will never be looking for one. Unequivocally recommended.
The combination of Tolstoy's high definition rendering of his character's complex hearts and minds with the virtuosity of this narrator's gifts results in a rare audiobook experience here. Hold on to your hat and prepare yourself for a real donkey kick of an ending. This is a classic for a reason. It is a masterpiece.
David Horovitch does a wonderful job bringing this book to life. I really enjoyed listening to him.
David Horovitch's reading of Anna Karenina is excellent and one of the best audiobooks to which I have ever listened.
Horovitch captures the principal character's personalities with precision and brings depth to their respective positions and roles in the story.
I was apprehensive about listening to anyone read a lengthy Russian novel, but Horovitch did a brilliant job. His narration was never grating, and he did a brilliant job with both the dialogue and the descriptive portions of the novel.
Hope and Tragedy
Mr. Horovitch was simply fantastic in his portrayal of this great story. He does a fantastic job of giving each character their own unique voice, and is unafraid of investing his now emotion into the story. Bravo!!
Near the top. I would rank it within my top 5.
The story takes you on a voyage of multiple emotions. The character development is grand.
It is certain that Leo Tolstoy will be an author I look into in the near future after I get a bit further into my pile of books I already have set aside to listen to or to read. The narrator has an amazingly eloquent voice and I loved his ability to make distinct voices for the male characters but I felt as thought he fell short on the female characters. However this wouldn't stop me from putting him in my next pick.
The struggle that Levan has encountered throughout this book is very real and brought to the surface a struggle that I was able to make a connection. I liked Levan very much from the beginning and loved him even more so at the end of this grand story.
Eloquent, vivid and charming.
This book I don't feel is so much an inspirational book but a book for reflecting. Reflecting on ones choices in life and how best to move forward.
The title is a bit miss leading, if you know nothing of Anna Karenina and if reading this review you may be asking yourself why I haven't mentioned our dear Anna. She indeed is one of our main characters and we spend a great bit of time with her but not who the book is truly about. However her struggle in this book takes you on quite the ride and in the end I wasn't quite sure how to feel about her but I know that I felt dumb-founded and aggrevated with her decisions and her choice of how to deal with them.
Anna Karenina has been on my must read list for many years. I have been keeping lists – and book lists in particular – since my first summer journal at eight years old. The epic Russian novel appears at the top of many top ten novels lists and has been referred to as “flawless” and “the greatest novel ever written” by two of the most celebrated novelists of our time.
I have owned a copy of Anna Karenina for about ten years. If I have made any attempt at all to read it, I have never gotten much past the first sentence, which is one of the most iconic quotes from the book “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Last Sunday, realizing for the first time that there has been yet another movie remake – this one starring Kiera Knightly and Jude Law – I decided I’d better read the book before “accidentally” catching it on television.
Tolstoy’s world is mid-to-late nineteenth century Imperial Russia. The primary characters live lavish and eminently superficial lifestyles. Their daily existence is a whirlwind of sparkling balls featuring hair-pieced chignons piled high, and decadently luxurious boudoirs where the aristocratic Russian society of Moscow and St. Petersburg affectedly pepper their speech with French. In stark contrast to the elaborate, but constricted life of the city is pastoral Russia. The agrarian countryside has expansive landscapes, rich soil and an unending sky.
Tolstoy’s romantic masterpiece is as vivid as it is relatable. The book captures the imagination with its straightforward and exact language. Tolstoy stops time as he bores into his characters’ every thought, motive, and facial twitch, even as dialogue is being exchanged. It is a romance – admittedly not my favorite genre – but juicy from the get-go with marital infidelity, unrequited love and a tragic love affair.
The novel is sweeping, with at least two dozen named characters whose lives spiral around the two central protagonists – Anna Karenina and Tolstoy’s alter ego, Konstantin Levin. Tolstoy peers not only into the lives of a few rich 19th century Russians, but into the whole of humanity. The novel has stood the test of time because it reminds us that even the most desirable of circumstances may be unbearable, that bumps in the road may still lead to happy endings, that glamor and frivolity are but fleeting joys, and that family and real love are worth crying for, fighting for, striving for, waiting for.
Anna Karenina is a celebration of human frailty and redemption. Tolstoy says its okay to be flawed, its okay to make mistakes, just keep trying. We see that there are infinite possibilities in life, but we indeed choose our own path. Without seeking to reduce a 150-year old, 900-page classic tome to a few epithets, Anna Karenina is a celebration of life – its beauty and its tragedy – and all the meaning there is to be found, if only we will choose to see it.