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.
This book isn't narrated, it's heavily performed. Crying, whispering, huge swings in mood, tempo and emotion. That would all be great if I had any reason to want David Horovitch's personal interpretation of Tolstoy, but I don't. It's one thing to whisper a line that's followed by text in the book, that says "...Anna whispered". But, to continuously heavily interpret the text with no clear reason except the preference of the narrator is a disservice to Tolstoy. It should be relabeled as a performance, not a narration.
Also of note is that when David whispers, it's so quiet that even at max volume it's inaudible in the car on the freeway (at least inside my Prius).
All considered, if you're looking for entertainment and don't particularly care about the meaning of the book, this is a great edition. If you want to hear Tolstoy, and form your own thoughts and opinions about his meaning, steer clear.
David Horovitch's narration on top of Tolstoy's genius makes for a breathtaking experience.
Tolstoy will show you things about about us that you never knew you knew
Tolstoy has an amazing ability to articulate the nuances of human thought. To some extent, augments my own internal dialog. This is not an easy read, but incredibly rewarding. I highly recommend this version as David Horovitch was an exceptional narrator.
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).
"An honest portrayal of emotions, deliciously read."
Absolutely. I remeber trying to read Anna Karenina on a plane and buckling under the pressure of such an impressively large volume. I particularly reccommend this for students that have been put off reading due to the sheer amount of words they stare at every day during study or revision.
I wouldn't say I have a favourite but I couldn't help rooting for Levin.
No but you can tell he enjoys reading this. He gets really into it and brings much humanity to his reading.
It made me feel all the feels. Happiness, sadness, anger, anxiety, pity, nervousness(?) (if that's even an emotion) etc.
Perfect to listen to whilst going for a walk, on commute, having a bath or doing dull lab work.
"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.
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