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.
I enjoyed the book immensely and thought Horovitch was excellent in his French, but .... please correct his Russian pronunciation of Seryozha!!!! It was quite distracting in the otherwise superb reading!
A seeker of wisdom, a theorist of husbandry, a traveler of distant lands - a bit eclectic...
1) A penetrating analysis of human nature
2) A heartfelt search for the true meaning of life
3) A beautifully written story that evokes the full spectrum of one's emotions
4) An incredible performance by David Horovitch
5) One of the rare audiobooks I plan to listen to again, and perhaps again
Reason and observation, says the wise Qoheleth of old, compels one to admit that there is no enduring satisfaction under the sun. The whole of natural life per se, he proceeds to elaborate, offers only an enticing, and often very believable, mirage, viz., that some cause or some ambition or some ideal state, will somehow attain some lasting value, will somehow provide complete and enduring fulfillment. Upon recognition, one often finds this a rather repulsive and untimely sense of reality, and thus one finds it more convenient to suspend belief in the said recognition in order that life may find have some significance; others may even try to come to grips with the implications. For the latter there is a shocking, seemingly contradictory, discovery: a desire for the ideal state in spite of it having no ultimate point.
Rarely have I found a more penetrating, painful, but liberating exposition of this idea of the ‘vanity of life’ than in Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”. Mr. Tolstoy’s genius is displayed as he eloquently guides his readers through the exhilarating emotional heights experienced in the passionate pursuit of the ideal state, and, then, to the slow, terrible recognition of it all - futility. So intense is the description that one is made to almost believe that it is one’s own inner self being so vividly exposed to the delusion of a heretofore satisfactory and delightful sense of purpose. There is no escape: one must mentally relive the joy and the horror of it to the bitter end. Yet, through it all there is Konstantin Levin, whose views shall likely never be in vogue with society, but nevertheless finally begins to see a way out of the madness of vanity.
David Horovitch's narration is built of the rare stuff that carries one directly into the very time and place - a captivating and exciting world of 'real life' characters. Simply put, its some of the best reading I've heard...
After two really poor books I reverted to the classics – and it was good. Tolstoy is a great writer – even in translation his mastery of language, imagery and characterisation is unquestionable. The book really does not seem long – there is a pace and drive about the narrative. Quite simply, it is a picture of late 19th century Russian nobility and the social pressures brought to bear on individuals when they dare to act in favour of their hearts instead of convention. We witness the progressive mental decline of Anna as opium, guilt and societal pressure corrode her consciousness. There are also fascinating sub-plots which reveal the growing sense of discomfort that some landowner felt about the exploitation of the peasants. There are also some tedious passages about the rural land management mechanisms but generally it is clearly an outstanding piece of literature. The narrator, David Horovitch, is the best narrator I have ever heard on audio. He brings out the subtleties of the text and bring the characters to life - a superb actor.
The narrator has a wonderful set of voices. A very good production all together. And a great number of intertwined stories with complex characters.
David Horovitch does a wonderful job bringing this book to life. I really enjoyed listening to him.
Even though it was a 38+ hour book, but I got sad when it ended. Some of the scenes were the best scenes I have ever read in a novel like Anna's death or the birth scene. The narration was also phenomenal.
Overall a masterpiece, in every sense of term.
The combination of Tolstoy's high definition rendering of his character's complex hearts and minds with the virtuosity of this narrator's gifts results in a rare audiobook experience here. Hold on to your hat and prepare yourself for a real donkey kick of an ending. This is a classic for a reason. It is a masterpiece.
Mr. Horovitch was simply fantastic in his portrayal of this great story. He does a fantastic job of giving each character their own unique voice, and is unafraid of investing his now emotion into the story. Bravo!!
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.
Rye-and-Indian, baked daily.
Upon starting Anna K, I purchased both the Gyllenhaal and Hortovitch narrations and listened to the first two chapters. I kept Hortovitch, his reading being much more passionate than Gyllenhaal’s. Additionally, Hortovitch reads the Maude translation (a richer translation in my opinion), in contrast to Gyllenhaal’s reading of the Garnett translation. I was very happy with my selection; this title was 38 hours well spent.
My three biggest takeaways from this title: Konstantin. Dmitrievich. Levin. Talk about a character after my own heart: his morals, his relationships, his reactions to society, his enlightenment and the like. He’s a profound masculine character hidden behind the feminine facade of this title.
Anna K has lots for male and female readers alike. Perhaps my biggest disappointment with this title is the politicking of the various characters and cities. On a second read I might pick up more from these chapters but for the first read I found these scenes distracting.
For the first-time reader, be sure to keep your eye on the motions of Varenka and Koznyshev. While they both hold minor roles in the book, there are key moments for both of these characters throughout the title that should not be missed.
The meditations on the wide varieties of relationships presented in Anna K will leave me plenty to think about for the weeks ahead. While I didn’t find myself immediately itching to start a second reading like I’ve felt after some of the other Russian classics, the final 200 pages are quite the climax to the story and are absolutely worth the effort.
Come for Anna, stay for Levin, and enjoy some of the best outdoor scenery and relationships in literature along the way. May your own needs, desires and relationships be better understood upon completing this title.
"Great performance by David Horovitch"
I think the performance of this story is really good. I'm not sure how I would have got on reading the book, Horovitch really brings this story alive.
I really think Tolstoy seeks and brings out the innermost feelings of his characters and the feelings are true to life. I found the story unpredictable and could not guess what would happen next.
This book is far too long to listen to or read in one sitting I think, but I came back to it day after day.
"fabulous- best audio book ever"
Narration was superb. I would recommend David Horovitch. The story is brought to life and even the bits I skipped when reading the book were enjoyable to listen to.
As a huge Tolstoy fan, I've found it hard listening to the audio books as there's never something quite rite to me about how they're narrated. However David Horovitch is simply brilliant! ...the emotion and tones in his voice fits perfectly every time and is never dry. I never thought I would say I don't just have a favourite author but a favourite Narrator to!
"Fantastic reading of brilliant book"
So, so impressed with David Horovitch's performance of this. Thoroughly recommend it - the hours fly by!
"Classic reading of a classic"
I have Nadia May's reading, which isn't bad, but this is simply superb. The brilliance of Tolstoy is brought alive.
Tough question, perhaps the first ballroom scene with Kitty as who doesn't know the shame of misplaced passion? The narrative as a whole is a sermon on Jeremiah 17:9 'The heart is deceitful above all else, and incurable - who can understand it?' As Anna's tolerance of her brother shows the understanding of identity so easily becomes complicity and produces the same destructive fruit.
Impossible to answer as they are all good.
This really is aan excellent production and I would encourage anyone to give it a listen.
"A true classic"
Just let yourself be carried along with the lives of these characters and you will be rewarded. It was read beautifully. So much pain and passion involved. Wonderful.
"Classic novel, very well read"
Classic novel, very well read. Certain passages may be a bit lengthy for some people. If you like the book you will love this audiobook.
A perfect coming together of three factors; fantastic translation, writing as good as it gets and reading/narration the best I've ever heard.
"Deep thoughts of human nature"
Tolstoy talent describing feelings and inner thoughts is outstanding. The complexity of love and the insecurities that women have while in a relationship made this book very interesting for me, regarless it's age.
"Plumbs the depths of the human spirit"
I was very sad when it finished - felt like I had lost a friend, until I realized I can always listen to it again.
Tolstoy is a master at probing and understanding the human spirit. And he does this more by asking questions and putting characters and their struggles into contrast than by giving answers.
I feel like someone has been rummaging in my soul.
That is not to say there is no story or plot to enjoy, and when I first encountered this book in my teens/early 20s that is all I paid attention to.
But now I am in my 60s I find myself riveted by the paradoxical contrasts between peasants and the nobility, and the barriers to agricultural and political reform as processed through the minds of the various characters, all of which, regardless of their outlook, Tolstoy made me love and understand.
This is a huge work that tackles problems, questions and challenges of what it means to be human and how to live a good life. As relevant today as it was then.
And now the performance - all I can say is David Horovitch made this book come alive in a way I could never achieve from simply reading it. Simply superb.
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