Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.
Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
©1994 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
How can one man understand so much about human nature and portray it so vividly and so beautifully? Tolstoy seems to have lived a thousand lives. Whether he is telling the thoughts of a mother as she gives birth, the reasoning's of a man who is trying to find meaning in the conflicting worlds of science and religion, the anxious feelings of young lovers or, amusingly, the thoughts of a dog as it runs through the woods chasing birds in a hunt, the descriptions flow so effortlessly and incisively that I found myself laughing and crying and with goosebumps over and over as I listened.
There is never a sense of hurry in the story--that the best way to read it was to enjoy the prose and let the plot unfold in its slow, meandering way without expecting it or anticipating it. It's a book that should be enjoyed with leisure and pondered over time.
Regarding the audio adaptation--the narration is among the best I've ever heard.
This is the version to listen to - the narrator is one of the best I've ever heard, and I think the english in this translation is the perfect balance of 19th century formality with modern vocabulary and syntax. I read Anna Karenina years ago and loved it then. But listening to this is like discovering the novel all over again.
This work unites three classics: (1) the novel by Leo Tolstoy that depicts the inner life of women with piercing realism; (2) the translation by Louise and Aylmer Maude of 1918 that still sounds fresh and contemporary; (3) the narration by David Horovitch that effects the range of characters with only the slightest modulation in his natural voice and the subtlest of vocal "gestures": an intake of breath here, a "tsk" there. It doesn't get better than this.
Simply wonderful narration by David Horovitch. His voice gives dramatic fluctuations to the individual characters, showing his great talent for acting. This and the fact that the story was so captivating, I found myself reading the book when I returned from work - wanting more. It is a very long book and very long audio book, but I found it was well worth the time. It is a story that will stay with me always. I guess that is why it is, and always will be, a Classic...
You must be a fan of a 'period piece' to really understand and follow Tolstoy. His writing is some of the most remarkable I have ever 'read'. I am awed by it; brilliant. I probably would never survive the printed page tho - too slow and too cumbersome for me in that form. Being able to listen and have my attention absorbed by the EXCELLENT narration is captivating.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
I was new last Fall to this Tolstoy masterpiece when I read it and listened in part. I came to it skeptical, under the mistaken impression that it was simply about Anna Karenina, her terminal love affair and her despicable selfishness toward her son and everyone else in the end. I thought "Anna K" was simply a story of this lady showing the tragic consequences of self-centeredness and the lack of any moral compass.
I was mistaken; the foregoing is only part of the story and should only be viewed in the context of the novel's three (or four) other relationships to appreciate the beauty of this Tolstoy masterwork.
Both the Russian Giants (Leo and Dostoevsky) play consistently the themes of man/woman's relationship to and with God and with spouse, the internal struggles of faith versus doubt and monogamy and morality versus free will, as well as the ongoing, infinite war between good and evil with all the skirmishes on the fringe.
These themes are arguably no where more dramatically displayed for study, contemplation and interpretation for all time by scholars, thinkers and, most importantly, lovers of literature in a quite timeless story of tragedy and relationships among and between:
Anna K in her tragic affair with the younger Count Vronsky
Her relationship with the controlling, but cuckolded husband Karenin and his capacity (or not) to move on and be a father to their son;
the steady, thinking farmer Levin and his courtship of and marriage to young, gorgeous and shallow Kitty who was once infatuated with Vronsky; and,
the unsteady, unfaithful social-hound Stiva Oblonsky (Anna's brother) and his loyal wife Dolly (Kitty's sister), the exemplary and unappreciated mother of his children, who catches herself daydreaming and fantasizing of what it may be like to have a torrid, short-term affair of body and soul.
Over this rocky terrain, Tolstoy fashioned an extraordinary and unforgettable mindtrip through the passions of humanity. YOUR destination should be some measure of SELF-revelation. Probably, it's varies from mine, maybe even antithetical. That is Tolstoy's point: a narrative to make you think and feel.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Ah, these were the days of meandering, philosophical ruminations, when not every paragraph had to advance the plot. . . . Tolstoy's novel is sheer brilliance, with complex, neurotic protagonists who drive themselves and each other crazy. The sanest characters are the peasants and the women, except for Anna, of course.
Tolstoy does a beautiful job of portraying life in Russia at that time--the politics, religion, society, families . . . what doesn't he talk about?!
The British narrator is wonderfully talented except for one odd kick in his gallop. When he reads the dialogue for peasants, he gives them a Cockney accent, and the kindly Russian Orthodox priest sounds Irish. I'm not kidding.
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.
Absolutely. Particularly if said friend was thinking of getting married. Tolstoy does a tremendously good job writing about all aspects of love and human interaction.
The grand life events. Without wanting to spoil anything, events like birth, marriage, and death are the ones where Tolstoy really shines here. He takes his time describing not only the events themselves, but also the effects they have on the people involved in them.
I really liked how the narrator acted out the emotional scenes. Horovitch is particularly good in bringing dialogue alive. The narration itself is a bit dull at times, but perhaps Tolstoy's slow and deliberate prose is at fault there (though it's not really a fault, it's just the way it's intended). One minor thing: the narrator's French, while good, isn't perfect, but that's easily overlooked (or should I say overlistened?).
Not really. Anna Karenina is a book that's best enjoyed like a fine wine: take a few sips at a time. Apart from practical difficulties (the book is just too long to listen to in one go), you'd just get overwhelmed with emotion if you wanted to listen to too much at a time.
One thing to keep in mind is that this book is ultimately not about Anna Karenina. It features her heavily, yes, but ultimately the main character is a man called Levin. If you don't realize this, part 5 of the book may seem a bit redundant, but once you get that Tolstoy first and foremost wanted to tell a story of self-discovery and faith, it all makes sense.
"A wonderful audio version of Anna Karanina."
Having read Anna Karenina a few times before I thought I would treat myself to a listen and I was well rewarded.
David Horovitch's narration brings to life the immense tapestry of characters in this dense novel - their lives, their loves, their hates, their ups and downs. The momentum of the audio version also helps with those long Russian monologues. For 'big reads' I love alternating between audio and text but much then depends on the narrator who in this case was excellent.
I also liked the way the recording was broken up into smaller chunks which made it so much easier to go back if one got lost!
"Narrator enhances story!"
The death of Anna
So many -can't decide
The narrator really makes the story come alive - I had read this book twice and must confess I skipped quite a little bit - In this version every character is excellently conveyed and the story really flows............
This is a brilliant edition of the book, easy to listen to, compulsive. I find it preferable Because I would not have time to read the book.
The husband because he is pathetic and faithful but quite inadequate.
I found it quite easy to distinguish who was speaking. He was able to render French and German tolerably well.
It made me draw breath sharply and hold my breath in anticipation
An amazing unabridged version at an amazing price! This is well read although all the characters do sound the same which can make it a little confusing at times. This is well worth the money if you have time to listen properly to all 35 hours!! A great job with a difficult and complex novel.
"Tedious, dull, long-winded"
I must be missing something. I just cannot understand why this is considered a literary classic - it was pure tedium from beginning to end. I have listened to over 50 audiobooks now (including many 'classics' and other pretty lengthy tomes), and this is the first one I have rated at less than 4 stars. First and foremost, the characters were all thoroughly unlikeable and uninteresting - I really struggled to feel any empathy at all for their largely self-inflicted tribulations. And while the plot was OK, whole story was far too long and drawn out, and frankly felt very self-indulgent on Tolstoy's part. It was so dull it actually put me off listening to audiobooks for a good few weeks afterwards!
"A Classic Epic everyone should read"
This story is just as relevant and meaningful to today and I'm sure many a modern tale has been based on it. I particularly enjoyed learning a bit about Russian peasants and farming albeit from a rather romantic and simplistic view, as well as the Russian aristocrasy. Overall a brilliant cautionary tale for anyone.
"Buy the unabridged version if there is one!"
I missed reading many classics when I was young, being too busy to read slow books, so I'm catching up with Audible. I have really enjoyed most of the books (Hardy, Dickens and indeed this one, hated Thackery!) but this is just too long in todays ideom. BUT if it is the only way to get it do as the characterisation and is amazing, the messages very clear and it builds a great picture of Russia before the revolution and the very unsettled times.
"The grass is not always greener!"
Took me a long time to listen to this, I could have done without the lectures, but I have read from a reviewer elsewhere that he appreciated these more later in life. Story was good, although I can't believe that such an intelligent woman could let herself end up in such a predicament, the grass is not always greener. I suppose boring lives do not make for great fiction. A classic read, especially since a new movie version is being made. The narrator did a stellar job, it would also be interesting to hear this read by a female narrator a good listen...
Mainly read in English, but some French parts too. I found this annoying seeing as I don't understand French.
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