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.
Near the top. I would rank it within my top 5.
The story takes you on a voyage of multiple emotions. The character development is grand.
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.
Anna Karenina has been on my must read list for many years. I have been keeping lists – and book lists in particular – since my first summer journal at eight years old. The epic Russian novel appears at the top of many top ten novels lists and has been referred to as “flawless” and “the greatest novel ever written” by two of the most celebrated novelists of our time.
I have owned a copy of Anna Karenina for about ten years. If I have made any attempt at all to read it, I have never gotten much past the first sentence, which is one of the most iconic quotes from the book “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Last Sunday, realizing for the first time that there has been yet another movie remake – this one starring Kiera Knightly and Jude Law – I decided I’d better read the book before “accidentally” catching it on television.
Tolstoy’s world is mid-to-late nineteenth century Imperial Russia. The primary characters live lavish and eminently superficial lifestyles. Their daily existence is a whirlwind of sparkling balls featuring hair-pieced chignons piled high, and decadently luxurious boudoirs where the aristocratic Russian society of Moscow and St. Petersburg affectedly pepper their speech with French. In stark contrast to the elaborate, but constricted life of the city is pastoral Russia. The agrarian countryside has expansive landscapes, rich soil and an unending sky.
Tolstoy’s romantic masterpiece is as vivid as it is relatable. The book captures the imagination with its straightforward and exact language. Tolstoy stops time as he bores into his characters’ every thought, motive, and facial twitch, even as dialogue is being exchanged. It is a romance – admittedly not my favorite genre – but juicy from the get-go with marital infidelity, unrequited love and a tragic love affair.
The novel is sweeping, with at least two dozen named characters whose lives spiral around the two central protagonists – Anna Karenina and Tolstoy’s alter ego, Konstantin Levin. Tolstoy peers not only into the lives of a few rich 19th century Russians, but into the whole of humanity. The novel has stood the test of time because it reminds us that even the most desirable of circumstances may be unbearable, that bumps in the road may still lead to happy endings, that glamor and frivolity are but fleeting joys, and that family and real love are worth crying for, fighting for, striving for, waiting for.
Anna Karenina is a celebration of human frailty and redemption. Tolstoy says its okay to be flawed, its okay to make mistakes, just keep trying. We see that there are infinite possibilities in life, but we indeed choose our own path. Without seeking to reduce a 150-year old, 900-page classic tome to a few epithets, Anna Karenina is a celebration of life – its beauty and its tragedy – and all the meaning there is to be found, if only we will choose to see it.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
Q. Why did I listen to ‘Anna Karenina’? A. I had listened to ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller, in which he reads and reviews 50 books, and he singled out ‘Anna Karenina’ for high praise. Incidentally, I also tried to get his absolute favourite number one book on the list ‘Atomised’, but it isn’t available as a talking book so I hunted down a hard copy, and I haven’t finished it yet but have struggled so far. This is the problem with recommendations. People’s tastes differ.
Anyway, back to the main point, which is ‘Anna Karenina’: I found it enjoyable, mostly, but it does meander off into politics and philosophising quite a lot. It has been described as ‘the best book ever written’, but, whatever these qualities are that qualify it for such hyperbole are lost on me.
The characterisation is good and realistic, and you are drawn in to sympathise with the characters. There is interesting social comment (the fact that when a man and a woman commit the same social indiscretion, adultery, the man is unpunished while the woman is ostracised and disgraced). The narration is excellent. But the plot is a bit of a disappointment and after the ‘main event’ near the end there is a boring epilogue and I was waiting for it to finish so I could listen to something more interesting.
Maybe I’m just too shallow for old classics, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by this book. 7/10.
I never thought I would finish this book! I thought there were many parts that seemed frivolous and not important to the story. It made me restless and impatient, especially since they weren't later relevant to the main plot. What was most interesting, however, is it seemed the book didn't end up really being about Anna Karenina and more about the search for the meaning of life. Interesting. Glad I read it, I guess, but more glad that it's finally over. lol
The narrator does an amazing job reading this book. It wouldn't have been the same without him. Each character develops such a personality through his voice; I found myself able to recognize who was speaking before the "so & so said".
there is no question if Tolstoy's longevity. He describes the thoughts and feelings of the various characters very well and paints a vivid picture for the listeners.
The narrator does a great job of changing his voice and tone according to the story.
"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.
"A long journey but absolutely worth it."
One of the mastodons of literature. As with the greatest works, it can probably only really be understood if one has lived a few years. The story is much more than a tragic romance and in fact the putative heroine is absent much of the time, but Tolstoy's penetrating psychological insight informs every scene and illuminates every protagonist. A genuine treasure and very well read in this edition.
The reader does a fantastic job . He reads each character so well , one really gets a an insight into each of the characters personality !
One feels a part of Tolstoys Russia . A worthwhile audible marathon .
"My first Tolstoy"
a very modern style of writing, enjoyed it very much. excellent performance well worth the time.
Anna Karenina wasn't the best audiobook I've listened to but was by no means the worst. David Horovitch is a great narrator and really gave the story that additional lift that I needed to get through it, I did listen to this in combination with reading a physical copy and that really works for me. It was an incredible book that I definitely feel benefited listening to the majority of. I've never listened to his performances before this but will definitely look for something else by him in the future.
As for characters I think it was Levin who I liked the most. However, even though I absolutely loathed her at points, Anna was an incredible character and possibly one of the best I've read in fiction. The writing of her and the full breadth of her character was incredible and very much deserving of the many hours this book took up.
It's an audiobook that I felt required a bit more time and, rather than my usual 2x speed I listened to this on 1.5x which was, for me, a good pace. Tolsoy's way with words is beautiful and I can't wait to explore more of his work in the future!
"Shouts and whispers"
Great book, but unfortunately the narrator likes to alternate between whispering and almost shouting. I don't know under which circumstances other people listen to audiobooks, but I do it while driving, so each time the narrator whispers I have to turn up the volume, only to have him shouting at me in the next instant - effectively turning the experience of listening to this phenomenal book into a nuisance.
"An astonishing book"
It's a long listen but well worth the effort. The narrator is the best I've come across and he characterises all people uniquely.
A very interesting and informative account of the lives of people who are on the edge of reform both socially and politically.
I read the book years ago and doubt I read every word yet I listened to it all. I was surprised by the author's insight into the emotions of both the male and female characters and the way he handled the social and philosophical political and religious questions of that society. Its relevance to today also struck me. The narrator was superb.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. I had never got beyond the first few pages of the written book but knew it was a story I would enjoy I find it is impossible to compare audiobooks as my choice is fairly eclectic.
There were many memorable scenes in the book and I found all of them essential to the whole.
I thought the narrator was very good and differentiated well between the different characters.
No it is much too long and also there is so much happening. I really looked forward to listening to it every day
Audible has really helped me to expand my choice of books because I can listen at times when it is not possible to read a book even on Kindle (although I still read every day).
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