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.
This book isn't narrated, it's heavily performed. Crying, whispering, huge swings in mood, tempo and emotion. That would all be great if I had any reason to want David Horovitch's personal interpretation of Tolstoy, but I don't. It's one thing to whisper a line that's followed by text in the book, that says "...Anna whispered". But, to continuously heavily interpret the text with no clear reason except the preference of the narrator is a disservice to Tolstoy. It should be relabeled as a performance, not a narration.
Also of note is that when David whispers, it's so quiet that even at max volume it's inaudible in the car on the freeway (at least inside my Prius).
All considered, if you're looking for entertainment and don't particularly care about the meaning of the book, this is a great edition. If you want to hear Tolstoy, and form your own thoughts and opinions about his meaning, steer clear.
Sooo long. So worth it. You get to know and love the characters deeply. Each victory and each defeat becomes like your own. Don't give up on them. The depths of book 3 are worth getting to know everyone on the way.
The narrator has a very unfortunate habit of lapsing into an inaudible murmur. As for the rest, obviously Tolstoy is a giant, but you may not enjoy this work if you don't think "a day in the life of a 19th century Russian noble" sounds interesting. This is not a plot-driven story; it's more of a soap opera done right, with deeply explored characters being consumed by drama.
I would definitely listen to this again. There are many layers to the story and complex characters in the book which means there is a lot to be gained from repeat listens/reads. The performance was amazing and the story is incredible.
It was very appropriately energetic and it was easy to tell the difference between characters. He whispers when people whisper and speeds up when people are telling a secret etc. it makes it all very real and compelling.
I would actually rate his performance 4.5 stars. It was an amazing performance with two *slight* down sides. there is a portion where he plays a sick man and it is very hard to understand his raspy voice. Also, sometimes he shows that people are whispering and suddenly drops his volume too making it realistic but hard to hear. These two things are, however, very slight and would not in any way deter me from listening again or recommending it to a friend.
A GREAT audio book!