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)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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 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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
David Horovitch does a wonderful job bringing this book to life. I really enjoyed listening to him.
The narrator has a wonderful set of voices. A very good production all together. And a great number of intertwined stories with complex characters.
By all admissions, this is a long book and can be daunting. However, Horovitch's gravelly voice and his obvious emotional involvement with the text makes it extremely enjoyable. I walk around with it on my ipod and find myself smiling at certain scenes and at the subtle understanding of human nature which Tolstoy masters so well and with such wry humour. I am really loving it.
"Definitive reading of Anna Karenina"
A masterly reading with never a lapse in concentration. The joys and sorrows of this wonderful tale are superbly conveyed so that Tolstoy's ideas are effortlessly understood. I cannot recommend David Horovitch too highly and I would read anything that he had narrated.
I tried to read this book many years ago and gave up (found names were daunting) so when I saw this in the sale thought I would give it another try. I am so glad I did. The narrator makes it come alive. The story is so gripping that I actually waited outside a customers premises after a long drive, just to find out what happened. Well worth the money and I have no hesitation in recommending this book.
Beautifully read. Like the other reviewers I can highly recommend this audiobook. I notice it is a 'cover to cover'edition.
This is a book I've always wanted to read but have found a bit daunting. I love the detail of Tolstoy's writing which is brilliantly brought to life by David Horovitch. I recommend this.
"The grass is not always greener!"
Took me a long time to listen to this, I could have done without the lectures, but I have read from a reviewer elsewhere that he appreciated these more later in life. Story was good, although I can't believe that such an intelligent woman could let herself end up in such a predicament, the grass is not always greener. I suppose boring lives do not make for great fiction. A classic read, especially since a new movie version is being made. The narrator did a stellar job, it would also be interesting to hear this read by a female narrator a good listen...
"Brilliant story, beautifully read"
Not better, just different. Both excellent.
Hard to say, loved the descriptions of the different characters, and their ways of life.
Not previously heard David readings. I think he reads beautifully.
Much more cry than laugh!
A wonderful story, beautifully told.
"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.
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
"Tragic, beautiful, politically interesting..."
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" - memorable start to Anna Karenina.
Listening to Anna Karenina was a serious commitment - evidence that audiobooks have captured me! I can now read (listen to) the books I've previously glossed over because making THAT time commitment competes with too many other reading tasks. Listening can be done in so many other places and at so many other times...
Anna Karenina is far more serious a contribution than the enjoyable, beautifully staged and highly stylised film.
The book is beautifully written, insightful and analytic of class, gender, and political economy. A tragic long drawn out story with numerous side issues and debates concerning love, desire, faith, bureaucracy, agrarian reform, philosophy, redolent of the time. Terrific narration.
Wonderful experience requiring a degree of persistence and stamina (nearly 40 hours!) but well worth it!
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