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.
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.
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!
I had this book in my list for a long time because of the length. I shouldn't have waited. It deserves its claim to best book.
I consider this audiobook to be better than the print version because the story is so long and over-written that I was never able to complete the print book. It may be a classic, but I don't believe it would hold up in today's world.
The story showed life in Russia when there the very rich and the very poor. It was interesting to see how they were all miserable.
He does a marvelous job with the voices, and, as previously stated, reading the book was too cumbersome.
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Author, Anna Rae Aberle
Every time I pick up a Tolstoy work I'm overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and volume of his works. Listening to them in audio form has reminded me what an incredible story teller Leo Tolstoy was and given me a fresh perspective into his characters and stories. If you are intimidated or simply cannot fathom having the time to reread Anna Karenina or War and Peace I highly recommend listening to them over time!!
Anna Karenina is quite simply one of the great masterpieces of world literature. I've read it before, but from the opening sentence I was reminded again of how much authority Tolstoy writes with. The narration is superb. While some say the MAude translation contains inaccuracies, I assume that overall it's good enough.
"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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