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 am an avid reader, having read hundreds of books in my lifetime. I love the classics, but I found this to be extremely boring, disconnected, and preachy. It seems that Tolstoy used every character's thoughts to portray his own political, religious, and economic views. Over and over and over, I lost track of the plot, wrapped up in some blathering soliloqy. Davina Porter was the one saving feature to this novel. She is one of the absolute best narrators and she did a fabulous job with even this boring dribble. I actually purchased this book simply BECAUSE Davina Porter was the narrator. She didn't let me down, but this book did. I had to push myself to finish it. Boring, boring, boring.
I have always wanted to read Anna Karenina but was intimidated by the length of the book. The audible format was appealing and I thought I could take it in pieces. While I overall enjoyed the writing, and the narrator did a fine job, there were many, many sections that dragged horribly and in retrospect seemed to detract from the themes and messages of the book, such as the dreadful passages discussing the mechanics of the political process. I usually prefer unabridged, but in this case I'd make an exception.
I normally love books considered a Classic. However, now I am afraid to even try "War and Peace" by the same author. If this is considered a classic, I do not understand why.
It goes on and on and on it tedius detail about the Russian society classes, such as peasants, poitical and social reform, religion, mental illness, everything is told in minute detail and very repetitive. I really don't see a plot after I read the whole 50 hour book.
For example on the repetition of the author. He will use Anna Karenina and other long Russian names 25 times in one paragraph. Instead of calling people by their first name or last name, this author will use their whole name in every sentence in the same paragraph and does not use pronowns like she or her much. It is very odd and tedius to listen to this style.
The only thing that helped me get to the end of the books was the great narrator, Davina Porter! She is great and I highly recommend her narration. This is probably the worst story ever told. I can't go into detail without spoiling the story for people who still plan on reading it, but why does it say Audible Kids before each segment of the book? This is the last book that should be read by kids with adultery as one of the main topics.
I know alot of teenagers are forced to read this book in school but I had never had the opportunity until recently to give it a shot. I love Davina Porter as a narrator and she was why I chose this particular recording. The story however made it impossible for me to be pulled in. The character Anna was such an evil and selfish person the entire time I was just hoping someone would accidentally run her over with a carriage... thank god for the ending because I would have been disappointed further if she had gotten away with all of that.
This may be the earliest book I've ever found with a Hollywood ending. I seemed like a great build up to a legendary duel but was really just about and opium whore VS a good farmer man.
There is some cool philosophy and drama in it though so I would still recommend it but it's no War and Peace.
I hate to say it - the only reason I continued to torture myself with the book was because I had paid for it! I was searching the whole time for a reason that this book made it into the "classics" pile and not the trash heap. It was awful! There are parts of the book that seem to have only been put in there to further torture the reader and had no apparent point except to lengthen the book. I actually found myself hoping that Anna will die in childbirth just so the book would END!!! I normally enjoy the classics, but this was a total and complete snore.
I have yet to figure out why the title. Tolstoy spent nearly as much time covering Levin as Anna. Speaking of Anna, I found her to be quite a disgrace, though not in the same antiquated notion as described in the book. Her jealousy drove not just Vronsky but also me INSANE. Her death provoked little sympathy from me - I was relieved to be free of her incessant inner/outer hateful/shameful chatter. But Tolstoy, boy, I'll be reading Tolstoy for a long time.
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