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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
    59
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Beautiful story, amazing narration

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.

103 of 105 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Three great classics

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.

59 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rob
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 09-12-09

The best translation and an amazing narrator

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.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderful narration.

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...

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

A Mindtrip through Passions of Humanity

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Tolstoy's writing is stunning

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.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating, Philosophical, Tragic

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Outstanding reading of an excellent translation

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The best narration I have ever heard. Mr. Horovitch is simply the best.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Emotional rollercoaster

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What about David Horovitch’s performance did you like?

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?).

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

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • 06-12-09

A gem

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.

33 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sandra
  • 09-30-09

Anna Karenina

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.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Wendy Kitchen
  • 03-01-10

Anna Karenina

Beautifully read. Like the other reviewers I can highly recommend this audiobook. I notice it is a 'cover to cover'edition.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • 11-11-09

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.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elinor
  • 10-07-10

Anna Karenina

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • eleanor
  • 06-20-14

Tolstoy readable

What did you like most about Anna Karenina?

The depiction of pre-revolutionary Russia

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The description of the harvest

Any additional comments?

This is a long slow book and needs to be read at leisure. The narration is excellent, the different characters distinguishable. I read it on paper years ago and have been glad to re-visit it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • M
  • 04-13-13

Superb!

I've been consistently impressed with the narrators I've heard on Audible, but David Horovitch's performance in Anna Karenina is a masterclass. His pacing and voicing is perfect, and each character is brought wonderfully to life. The novel itself is without doubt brilliant, and undoubtably a classic, but I've always found it quite intimidating to take on but I would thoroughly recommend this production of it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • jane
  • 03-07-14

Brilliant story, beautifully read

Would you consider the audio edition of Anna Karenina to be better than the print version?

Not better, just different. Both excellent.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Anna Karenina?

Hard to say, loved the descriptions of the different characters, and their ways of life.

Have you listened to any of David Horovitch’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not previously heard David readings. I think he reads beautifully.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Much more cry than laugh!

Any additional comments?

A wonderful story, beautifully told.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anthony
  • 04-21-13

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • 04-13-13

Anna Karenina yet again

I've read this book several times over the years, but listening to the Audible version over the last few weeks has really brought it to life again. The tragedy and inevitability of the story still has the power to haunt, I haven't seen the new film version yet, but that will be on the to-do list having refreshed the story for myself with the audio version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Mr Teatime
  • 05-16-15

Beautifully read

I would recommend this to anyone.

The novel is great - read it, listen to it, you won't regret it. It is close to being a perfect work of art.

This narration does it justice. It is stupendously good. Ever since I listened to this I've really struggled to find another book that I can bear listening to. I guess I'm just going to have to work my way through David Horovitch's others now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • BookwormDownUnder
  • 10-14-17

A beautiful book spoilt by David Horovitch

This great book was ruined by the narrator, another smacking of lips and loud swallowing narrator, makes me shudder. Emphasis was wrong in most parts, ruined the moment many a time.

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  • Rodney Fielding
  • 09-29-16

Overlong classic superbly read

The narrator was wonderful and the novel a great one, but large slabs were dull.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Sam French
  • 04-06-15

Wonderfully insightful

This book is a brilliant exposition of the interior experience of love and human relationships.

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  • Danelle Kenny
  • 10-05-14

Did he really understand the women?

What did you like most about Anna Karenina?

The character development; for the most part they were all incredibly believable.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Anna Karenina?

The train, when Anna returns from Moscow to Karenin with Vronsky in the background.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

When Anna finally gives in to Vronsky

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

Definitely not. Too many characters, too many parts. It works better if you listen to a piece at a time.

Any additional comments?

I was hooked on this book until the end. Anna's final actions are incongruous with the rest of the book and destroy the strength of female 'sensibility.' There were so many more things she would have done and Tolstoy's choice tainted the rest of the book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful