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Anna Karenina | [Leo Tolstoy]

Anna Karenina

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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).

© Public Domain; Artwork © 2012 Focus Features LLC. All rights reserved (P)1993 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (59 )
5 star
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4.0 (49 )
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4.1 (45 )
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Performance
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  •  
    K. W. Lowery Raleigh, NC 12-15-12
    K. W. Lowery Raleigh, NC 12-15-12 Member Since 2011

    Christian, Biochemist, Husband, Father - pursuing God in a modern culture

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    "Flawless novel, masterfully narrated"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 02-03-14
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2006

    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.

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    "How should one live one's life?"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Henderson, NV, United States 05-23-13
    John Henderson, NV, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Narration Echoed"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    There was a slight/faint, but noticeable echo of the narration throughout the entire recording.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Leo Tolstoy? Why or why not?

    Probably not. 60% great story. 40% unnecessary information, which adds up in a book of this length.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Narrator was great, but recording had the echo issue.


    Was Anna Karenina worth the listening time?

    Just because it was a classic worth experiencing.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linn Stockholm, Sweden 04-30-13
    Linn Stockholm, Sweden 04-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "A classic is a classic"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Pamela 12-19-12
    Pamela 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Classic literature!"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmen mexico city, Mexico 03-09-13
    Carmen mexico city, Mexico 03-09-13 Member Since 2005
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    "A book worth reading"
    If you could sum up Anna Karenina in three words, what would they be?

    TIMELESS HUMAN BEHAVIOR


    What did you like best about this story?

    IT MADE ME FEEL I WAS THERE.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    THE LAS IRATIONAL SCENE WHEN ANA HAS A FIT OF JEALOUSY


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    NO


    Any additional comments?

    A GOOD WAY WAY TO REMEMBER HISTORY.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Priscilla Y Rodgers 01-15-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Timeless quality"
    Where does Anna Karenina rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this to anyone who is interested in being immersed in a great classic for some time. A great winter companion particularly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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