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)
This was my first audiobook from Audible. I chose it because I wanted to reread Anna Karenina -- it is a favorite of mine. Hearing it aloud reminded me that until the last century these great novels were meant to be told and read aloud. The capable narration and dramatic interpretation of Davina Porter made it much easier to keep track of the unfamiliar names and story lines and brought each main character to life. As for the story itself, it was one of my favorites and is now even more so with hearing of it and the new insights I got this time around.
This is an excellent translation read with wonderful, evocative expression by Davina Porter. After some searching I found the text version from Random House/Modern Library Paperback translated by Constance Garnett AND Leonard Kent AND Nina Berberova. There is an original translation by Constance Garnett alone but that is different. I like to be able to refer to a hardcopy text of my audiobook, and it's nice if the translations actually match up. The reader really brings alive this outstanding novel.
This book is a classic and read very well by the narrator. Having no idea what the story was about when I decided to get this book, I was in for a huge surprise. This book is an excellent narrative on a variety of male-female relationships that all demonstrate some type of domestic abuse. The heroines are looking for a truly love filled life and find themselves in varying degrees of despair due to their beloved men becoming controlling, cheating, manipulative, or even vindictive husbands. This story is not for the faint hearted or for those who like to read about romance.
I used the audible version to help me read through the actual text version, and found it very helpful. It's such a big book, it can be intimidating. I'm planning on doing the same with Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'. The problem with Russian literature (very generally speaking, and for me at least) is that the names are a little tricky, and it can be hard to keep track of them (let alone pronounce them!). So having it read to you is vastly helpful. The characters still resonate through my mind. Anna is such a tragic heroine (if you choose to categorize her as 'heroine'). She reminds me of Emma Bovary (of 'Madame Bovary').
Sometimes I simply listened, sometimes I read along. Although sound quality is not the greatest, I found it enjoyable listening and would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Russian literature.
I am book junkie. Read to me.
This novel is a remarkable achievement. It is like looking at an intricately pieced quilt, one in which every thread has been braided by hand and dipped in liquid gold. Rarely have I read a novel in which even minor characters have rich, fully realized pasts and deep interior lives. The story is long, but Tolstoy is not wasteful with words. Every sentence tells. The narrator is lively, with a pleasant, soothing voice. I worried whether I would be able to stick with five 7-plus-hour takes, but I was sorry to see it end.
Of all the Russian literature I have listened to in audio form, this was by far the best experience. I don't really know what the narrator did differently here, but the rhetorical digressions flowed with the story well enough that I rarely noticed them. It may just be Tolstoy's skill, but bravo to Divina Porter for many hours of entertainment. I enjoyed the story, the ideas, and the characters very much. If you have to choose between this novel and War and Peace, although they are both excellent, choose this one.
I really enjoyed this book. While the unabridged version is long and a bit wordy at times, I can't imagine the abridged version could possibly do justice to the complexed stories and character development. If you enjoy light, airy stories that get to the point quickly, this is not the book for you. If you like to really get into the characters, enjoy a developing story and just love to sit back and listen, this is a perfect choice.
I FINALLY finished listening to this book today, all 36 hours and 8 minutes of it, and I have to say it was worth it. This is a long, involved, 19th century novel by one of the greatest novelists in history. It took some work on my part to stick with it and understand it. I followed the story along on sparknotes, which made it much easier, because when I got lost in the detail, or didn't know or remember who a character was, I could consult this website and get those questions answered.
This book is a juxtaposition of two stories, the sad story of Anna Karenina, and the happy story of Konstantin Levin. The book has been analyzed to death over the last 200 years so it is futile to try to do that. I will just give my impressions. When I finished this book, I wanted to cry, not because I was sad, not because I had a feeling of losing something of value, or losing contact with good friends as I sometimes have at the end of a good book, but I think it was because I saw Levin come around to an understanding of who he was, and what his place was in the world. He realized the most valuable things to him were his wife and son. It was like the sun coming out. It made me happy after the tragic story of Anna and her messed up life. In any case, I loved the whole book. I knew it would be long and involved and contain a lot of detail that is not germane to the story. Do not read this book if you don't want to put up with that aspect of the novel. It is a rewarding story with much food for thought and lessons for life. Makes me happy I have made the good decisions I have made, and helps me understand the poor ones. BTW, Davina Porter is about the best narrator of all times. I could listen to her all day . . . and I DID for several days!
"The Greatest Novel Ever Written ?"
Tolstoy creates a world of complex characters whom one gets to know and understand and with whom one develops great empathy as the events unfold. The analysis of chatacters' motivation is supreme as Tolstoy demonstates enormous insights into the dilemmas they face as they seek happiness and meaning in their lives. Some fail, some achieve a measure of success, some deceive themselves, some aim low, some aim high.
This book is deeply moving because of its sympathy with humanity.
It is so well written that you cannot put it down but it demands time and concentration.
It is the greatest novel that I have ever read.
If you read only one novel in your life, read Anna Karenina!
Davina Porter judges her reading beautifully
"What a treat!"
I first read this many years ago, at the age of 19, and was probably too young for it. I was only interested in what I saw as the high romance of Anna's love affair, and am ashamed to say I skipped most of Levin's philosophising, which I dismissed as boring. The good thing about an audio book is that it's difficult to skip bits, so you listen to it all - and I loved all 36-plus hours of it! This time round, I realised that Anna was silly, thoughtless and selfish, and found myself much more interested in Levin's story: yes, all the details about agriculture and local politics that I'd found so tedious before. It was beautifully read, too.
Nice to think that at last I am old enough for Tolstoy!
"Who can resist?"
Who can resist Tolstoy? From his famous opening sentence, he sweeps us into a world, different from our own, but full of human beings that we recognise immediately. They grapple with the complexities of their own lives. they talk to themseves, kick themselves mentally, delude themselves and swing from optimism to pessimism in ways that engage our sympathies at once.
The energy of Tolstoy's writing is amazing. In the first day of the story, all the main characters (except Anna) appear.They are new to us, but they seem to have been living their lives long before we meet them. Oblonsky, his wife Dolly, her sister Kitty, friend Levin and stranger Vronsky, are all at turning points in their lives. Oblonsky grapples with his wife's knowledge of his infidelity,Dolly contemplates leaving her husband, Levin proposes, Kitty rejects him and Vronsky pursues Kitty. Anna arrives on the next day, to be a catalyst in all their stories and to be compelled towards her own destruction.
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