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 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).
"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.
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