Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy's genius is clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual's place in the historical process, one that makes it clear why Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers and placed War and Peace in the same category as The Iliad.
War and Peace was translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
I gave up on this and got the two-volume Neville Jason version instead --what a difference! If I hadn't been reading this for a book group, I probably wouldn't have made the effort to try a different version, but it's well worth it. This one is so bad, I'm surprised that Audible even carries it. Run away.
I just can't get past the narrator on this one. His portrayal of the female voice leaves nearly every statement they make with a question mark at the end. I thought for sure I would be able to ignore that part of the reading, but it makes conversations in the book so confusing that it's difficult to follow the story. Add that to the lifeless, droning of the narrator's voice and the story is impossible to follow. I'm very interested in listening to this book and am saddened that I didn't choose another version.
Of course it's a great book. And the reader is very clear and he brings some drama to the reading. But his intonation drives me crazy. He lifts his tone at the end of each phrase and sentence so that he gives an air of superciliousness. And even though this habit is not monotonous in itself, it is so idiosyncratic in - dare I say - an annoying way that I can't help but register it every time he does it, which is all the time.
I found myself spacing off during most of Tolstoy's tangents and war segments. And after I'd realized I spaced off, I didn't bother rewinding because I knew it didn't matter.
I ended up only listening to the very few parts that involved REAL characters (ie Natasha, Pierre, Maria...). I HAD to finish it because I've never given up on a book. AND I was hoping the ending would be a reward. Well, it wasn't. It just ended in the middle of nowhere.
60 hours of my life gone. And I can't get them back!!!
Tolstoy's writing is wonderfully rich, ironic and born of a deep appreciation for human contradictions. Yet, the overly dramatic and fey voice of the narrator interferes with the listener appreciating the subtleties inherent in Tolstoy. It is very distracting.
Although the book is undoubtedly a masterpiece of literature, this interpretation of War and Peace ruined the pleasure of the story, and of listening to Audiobooks as a whole. The "Reader", Frederick Davidson, attempts -and fails- to bring the voices to life by imparting different accents, personalities and affectations to each character. This is so distracting that it is difficult to follow what's actually happening. If War and Peace had been written as a play, this perhaps would have worked, but it is not, and the gross overinterpretation by Mr. Davidson absolutely ruins the book. There are other readings of this book. Perhaps the narrators in those other versions are invisible to the reader/listener, as they should be.
I think Mr. Davidson wanted this work to be a "Davidson production", not the reading of a Tolstoy book. How unfortunate I chose to buy it...
Extremely boring and hard to get into
I could not get past the first hour.
Remove it from you list, I'm sure you get a lot of returns
I've tried to link this reading to the various translations available on Amazon with no luck. Any advise would be appreciated - I would like to read and listen at the same time.
This classic book is supposed to be fantastic, but I never managed to find out because the narrator is extremely annoying. He has a combination of monotonous and over exagerated theatrical voice. I guess I will have to read it myself instead..
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