Davina Porter's performance of Tolstoy's dauntingly long and involved world classic makes one feel grateful not to have to make this difficult literary journey alone. Porter's voice is pleasant, expressive and versatile; her Russian pronunciations impressive; and her understanding of the work excellent. In an unhurried and confident fashion, Porter reveals the twisting social and personal tensions that ensnare a very mortal married woman who falls into illicit love. Porter's interpretation gives a warmth and consistency to this demanding novel which silent readers would be hard-pressed to approach, let alone duplicate. This is an outstanding example of performance literature.
This is the story of the unhappy family of Anna Karenina. The novel contains much concerning Tolstoy's spiritual crisis and his search for the meaning of life. But it is also chiefly about marriage, and the growth and death of love.
The touching picture of Anna Aarkadyevna Karenina's slow disintegration has fascinated readers for well over a century. Beautiful and charming, Anna lives in a splendid world of her own making. She smokes, rides horseback, plays tennis, takes opium, practices birth control, and (although she is already married) falls in love with a handsome army officer.
Anna's life is played out against a backdrop of dazzling balls and the vastness of Russia's landscape. It is a magnificent story that shimmers with the intensity of intelligence and passion, especially through this superb narration by Davina Porter.
(P)1990 by Recorded Books, LLC; First published in 1878.
"Porter reads magnificently." (Los Angeles Times)
I listened to this audiobook because I had heard that some consider "Anna Karenina" to be the greatest novel ever written. It was beautifully narrated, very pleasant and engaging. Some parts were absolutely enthralling. Tolstoy has a genius for describing deep, inner human drives and motives. A couple of parts were tedious (perhaps inevitable in any work this length). On the whole, it was beautiful, and I enjoyed the unexpected ending of the whole story.
I read this book for the first time recently, having managed to avoid it earlier in life. Reading it as an adult gave each character a side to which I could relate and certainly each one displayed facets I have seen either in myself or in others. While earlier in life one was likely to have picked sides, now I felt like I understood each character for their own situation as brilliantly developed by Tolstoy. By the end of the book you feel that you have endured the ups and downs with the characters and in some ways, they are your familiar companions. It was certainly sad to end the book and lose such new friends.
The reading by Davina Porter was great and I have few complaints. Yes, the names can be a bit cumbersome but that is easily avoided by taking a few notes at the outset with a brief description of each character. In any case, Davina Porter does a good job of clear pronounciation as well as effecting distinctly the specific "voice" of the book characters.
A solid read of an unforgettable book. Highly recommended.
With perhaps the most famous first sentence in world literature we begin the other great novel written by Tolstoi. Very well narrated. For those having trouble with Russian names that, I'm afraid is your problem. Russians likely have trouble with American names. Easily one of the great classics of Russian literature, it also ranks as one of the greatest of "modern novels" of the 19th and 20th century. I read this several times years ago but was pleased to find such a well narrated audio book.
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
Although I always yearn to listen to Russian novels due to fond memories of reading them many years ago, I have been discouraged from trying an audio version because the length means I will be reading the same book for a whole month now that I have so little free time to read compared to when I was a student.
I bought this Davina Porter audio YEARS ago and could never face so much time with one book. For some reason I recently decided I was 'in the mood'. I listened to a sample, dreading the thought of buying yet ANOTHER version (I mistakenly bought two different versions in 2004) to get good sound. What a nice surprise! The recording is as good as anything being recorded today, and despite being a really picky listener I have no complaints at all.
On the contrary, 'Anna Karenina' contains long disquisitions on political and agrarian economy which are very demanding of a wonderful narrator and are well served by Davina Porter. Her expression is always lively, her emotion appropriate and her pronunciation is perfect. She uses different intonations for different characters for variety, but not different voices - her rhythm is wonderful, and her accents in French for example, are very comprehensible. There are so many Russian and French and German names that this book could be a disaster for an unskilled reader, but everything she says is comprehensible and beautifully pronounced - even when it isn't actually the way a native would speak. You never lose the meaning of the text which is incredibly important in such a long book with so many foreign words.
For readers/listeners with the time to devote to a classic Russian tome, this is a wonderful recording.
A beautiful book! It is masterful and brilliant in part because it is as relevant today as when he wrote it. He writes for the patient intelligent reader.... What a great gift he gave us.
This book would most definitely be in my top ten. I know the lenth of it is intimidating to some but don't miss out.
I think it's a mixture between Tess of the D'Ubervilles and the Outlander series. Maybe I'm crazy for thinking that but it's much more exciting than Tess and gripping like Outlander. I couldn't stop listening. Tolstoy is such a beautiful writer, I found myself making notes the entire time. He educates his readers while telling a very interesting story.
I'm in love with Davina Porter's voice so it's fair to say I'm biased when it comes to her skills as a narrator. This book is so much more because of her.
I can't say without spoiling the read for you. However when you get to the part you will most certainly know.
I wish audiobooks had been so readily available while I was in highschool. A talented narrator can turn a drab book into something you can tear yourself away from.
Anna Karenina is possibly the best book I have ever enjoyed. The reading of this book by Davina Porter was perfect, she has an amazing ability to do justice to male, female, old, and young characters. I walk every day and listen to books. This Tolstoy novel and the way it was presented by Porter made all my walks special. I will buy other books like Madame Bovary by Porter.
If you care at all about the pronunciation of Russian names, then this otherwise perfect English narrator will drive you absolutely NUTS, putting emphases on wrong syllables and otherwise murdering all names all the time.. In this book the names and patronymics are probably one tenth of the body of text, so it does matter! The "Shish-cher-batskis" - that's Kitty's family - are particularly problematic.
I was a little worried at first to donwload this ultimate classic but it was well worth every minute of those 36 hours :) Davina did an excellent narrating job and even the long monologue passages were enjoyable to listen to. Would definetly recommend to Russian classic lovers.
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