Sensual, rebellious Anna falls deeply and passionately in love with the handsome Count Vronsky. When she refuses to conduct the discreet affair that her cold, ambitious husband - and Russian high society - would condone, she is doomed. Set against the tragic love of Anna and Vronsky, the plight of the melancholy nobleman Konstantine Levin unfolds. In doubt about the meaning of life - a mirror of Tolstoy’s own spiritual crisis - Konstantine is haunted by thoughts of suicide.
A magnificent drama of vengeance, infidelity, and retribution, Anna Karenina tells the story of two characters whose emotional instincts conflict with the dominant social mores of their time.
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was born in Russia. His parents - who died when he was young - were of noble birth. He served in the army in the Caucasus and Crimea, where he wrote his first stories. He is especially known for his masterpieces, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).
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“Considered one of the pinnacles of world literature.” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature)
“A sexy and engrossing read, this book tells the tale of one of the most enthralling love affairs in the history of literature.” (Oprah.com)
Christian, Biochemist, Husband, Father - pursuing God in a modern culture
This was the first Tolstoy I have ever read, and I enjoyed this book very much. I did not realize, going in, that this was the dual story of Anna Karenina’s adulterous affair with Count Vronsky, but of Constantine Levin’s journey to love and spiritual life. One person descends morally, the other ascends, their lives, thoughts and personalities masterfully woven and layered by Tolstoy into one of the best books I have ever read!
I was primarily motivated to finally read the book because the movie was coming out and I wanted to experience the book before I saw the movie. After reading the book and seeing the movie poster centered on Anna alone, with her husband and lover in the background on either side, the focus will probably center on Anna exclusively. Hollywood seems to resemble the loose Petersburg circles that Anna moved in, which takes innocence and spits out broken souls like Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan. It would not surprise me that the focus of the movie would be on Anna’s passion, condemning the society that caged her, marginalizing the progress of Levin from awkward and angry, an intellectual misfit who envies the simplicity of peasants, to love, marriage, fatherhood and ultimately a true spiritual awakening. I may be wrong. I hope I am wrong.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I wish I could say I liked any of these characters. It would make it so much easier to give a heartfelt endorsement to this book. It is without question a great book. Tolstoy has learned a lot in the 8 years since he wrote War and Peace. Instead of shifting back and forth between the story and historical analysis, he has figured out how to integrate everything into the story. Not only does the historical exposition fit naturally into the dialog between the characters, but his observations of the characters and their feelings is spot on perfect. And by cluing us in to their feelings, we understand why they react in a particular way to the next person they encounter, and how those internal processes contribute to hampering and undermining the oral communication we all depend upon.
This was a hard book to listen to because I kept wanting to stop and consider all the ideas Tolstoy introduced. I suppose the key question for the reader is to decide what you think this book is about. I don't think it's about Anna Karenina anymore than War and Peace is about war and peace. I think Tolstoy's central concern is about how to live one's life, and how to satisfy one's soul. From that perspective, Anna serves as an example of how seemingly justifiable choices lead inexorably to disaster. Levin is more truly the protagonist of the book. Everyone else is illustrating to one degree or another the thesis Tolstoy is exploring.
I picked this version of the book because I like Wanda McCaddon as a narrator. I suppose I should have given more thought to which translation I wanted to hear. This one (as best I can determine) is the one by Louise and Aylmer Maude. Both Maude's and Bennett's translations have served generations of Tolstoy readers, but I guess those of us who haven't learned Russian will have to wait awhile to hear a more updated translation.
One thing that really surprised me is that Karenin, for all his faults, is hardly the monster he is generally regarded to be. In fact, it is impossible to point to a true villain in this book. Nearly every character in inwardly pursuing what he or she believes to be a good end, even if they are misguided in one way or another.
There was a slight/faint, but noticeable echo of the narration throughout the entire recording.
Probably not. 60% great story. 40% unnecessary information, which adds up in a book of this length.
Narrator was great, but recording had the echo issue.
Just because it was a classic worth experiencing.
I figure it's unnecessary to introduce the storyline so let's just say it is quite a modern love story though set in a different pace (with more parallel stories) than the standard today. For instance, Anna Karenina doesn't make her entrance into the story until around page 70.
Nice narration and I'd highly recommend listening to this book rather than reading it as this recording brings it to life.
How does one rate classic literature? I can only say that I read it because I thought of it as must read classic literature. I wasn't disappointed.
TIMELESS HUMAN BEHAVIOR
IT MADE ME FEEL I WAS THERE.
THE LAS IRATIONAL SCENE WHEN ANA HAS A FIT OF JEALOUSY
A GOOD WAY WAY TO REMEMBER HISTORY.
This has been one of the most engrossing audiobooks I've listened to. I actually knew the story from a long ago reading, but was still gripped and carried along by the performance.
Naturally, Anna is a favorite character, but so is the quiet development of her son's character. Tolstoy is a master of character development generally, so all the main characters have been drawn deeply.
It is read with great precision and expression. The Russian names, often so hard to follow in written form, are understandable, and the dialogue read with characteristic voice inflections, which always let you know who is speaking among the main characters.
I recommend this to anyone who is interested in being immersed in a great classic for some time. A great winter companion particularly.
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