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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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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

Psychiatry in HD,a thriller,superb, crushing.

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Shannon
  • High Point, NC, United States
  • 07-21-13

I now know why this book is a literary classic

Would you try another book from Leo Tolstoy and/or David Horovitch?

It is certain that Leo Tolstoy will be an author I look into in the near future after I get a bit further into my pile of books I already have set aside to listen to or to read. The narrator has an amazingly eloquent voice and I loved his ability to make distinct voices for the male characters but I felt as thought he fell short on the female characters. However this wouldn't stop me from putting him in my next pick.

What did you like best about this story?

The struggle that Levan has encountered throughout this book is very real and brought to the surface a struggle that I was able to make a connection. I liked Levan very much from the beginning and loved him even more so at the end of this grand story.

What three words best describe David Horovitch’s performance?

Eloquent, vivid and charming.

Did Anna Karenina inspire you to do anything?

This book I don't feel is so much an inspirational book but a book for reflecting. Reflecting on ones choices in life and how best to move forward.

Any additional comments?

The title is a bit miss leading, if you know nothing of Anna Karenina and if reading this review you may be asking yourself why I haven't mentioned our dear Anna. She indeed is one of our main characters and we spend a great bit of time with her but not who the book is truly about. However her struggle in this book takes you on quite the ride and in the end I wasn't quite sure how to feel about her but I know that I felt dumb-founded and aggrevated with her decisions and her choice of how to deal with them.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great Book

I love this book and for the most part liked the reader except his constant changes in volume made it hard to hear passages without constantly either missing something or turning the volume up and down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Emrys
  • Alfred, NY, United States
  • 06-17-15

A very great work of art superbly narrated

Anna Karenina is quite simply one of the great masterpieces of world literature. I've read it before, but from the opening sentence I was reminded again of how much authority Tolstoy writes with. The narration is superb. While some say the MAude translation contains inaccuracies, I assume that overall it's good enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • T.
  • 01-09-15

A Worthwhile Read/Listen

Where does Anna Karenina rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

David Horovitch's reading of Anna Karenina is excellent and one of the best audiobooks to which I have ever listened.

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

Horovitch captures the principal character's personalities with precision and brings depth to their respective positions and roles in the story.

What about David Horovitch’s performance did you like?

I was apprehensive about listening to anyone read a lengthy Russian novel, but Horovitch did a brilliant job. His narration was never grating, and he did a brilliant job with both the dialogue and the descriptive portions of the novel.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Hope and Tragedy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • Highland, UT, United States
  • 03-08-14

Loved this rendition.

Where does Anna Karenina rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top. I would rank it within my top 5.

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

The story takes you on a voyage of multiple emotions. The character development is grand.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Beauty and Tragedy of Life

Anna Karenina has been on my must read list for many years. I have been keeping lists – and book lists in particular – since my first summer journal at eight years old. The epic Russian novel appears at the top of many top ten novels lists and has been referred to as “flawless” and “the greatest novel ever written” by two of the most celebrated novelists of our time.

I have owned a copy of Anna Karenina for about ten years. If I have made any attempt at all to read it, I have never gotten much past the first sentence, which is one of the most iconic quotes from the book “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Last Sunday, realizing for the first time that there has been yet another movie remake – this one starring Kiera Knightly and Jude Law – I decided I’d better read the book before “accidentally” catching it on television.

Tolstoy’s world is mid-to-late nineteenth century Imperial Russia. The primary characters live lavish and eminently superficial lifestyles. Their daily existence is a whirlwind of sparkling balls featuring hair-pieced chignons piled high, and decadently luxurious boudoirs where the aristocratic Russian society of Moscow and St. Petersburg affectedly pepper their speech with French. In stark contrast to the elaborate, but constricted life of the city is pastoral Russia. The agrarian countryside has expansive landscapes, rich soil and an unending sky.

Tolstoy’s romantic masterpiece is as vivid as it is relatable. The book captures the imagination with its straightforward and exact language. Tolstoy stops time as he bores into his characters’ every thought, motive, and facial twitch, even as dialogue is being exchanged. It is a romance – admittedly not my favorite genre – but juicy from the get-go with marital infidelity, unrequited love and a tragic love affair.

The novel is sweeping, with at least two dozen named characters whose lives spiral around the two central protagonists – Anna Karenina and Tolstoy’s alter ego, Konstantin Levin. Tolstoy peers not only into the lives of a few rich 19th century Russians, but into the whole of humanity. The novel has stood the test of time because it reminds us that even the most desirable of circumstances may be unbearable, that bumps in the road may still lead to happy endings, that glamor and frivolity are but fleeting joys, and that family and real love are worth crying for, fighting for, striving for, waiting for.

Anna Karenina is a celebration of human frailty and redemption. Tolstoy says its okay to be flawed, its okay to make mistakes, just keep trying. We see that there are infinite possibilities in life, but we indeed choose our own path. Without seeking to reduce a 150-year old, 900-page classic tome to a few epithets, Anna Karenina is a celebration of life – its beauty and its tragedy – and all the meaning there is to be found, if only we will choose to see it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Raglan, New Zealand
  • 02-04-15

Pleasant....

Q. Why did I listen to ‘Anna Karenina’? A. I had listened to ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller, in which he reads and reviews 50 books, and he singled out ‘Anna Karenina’ for high praise. Incidentally, I also tried to get his absolute favourite number one book on the list ‘Atomised’, but it isn’t available as a talking book so I hunted down a hard copy, and I haven’t finished it yet but have struggled so far. This is the problem with recommendations. People’s tastes differ.

Anyway, back to the main point, which is ‘Anna Karenina’: I found it enjoyable, mostly, but it does meander off into politics and philosophising quite a lot. It has been described as ‘the best book ever written’, but, whatever these qualities are that qualify it for such hyperbole are lost on me.

The characterisation is good and realistic, and you are drawn in to sympathise with the characters. There is interesting social comment (the fact that when a man and a woman commit the same social indiscretion, adultery, the man is unpunished while the woman is ostracised and disgraced). The narration is excellent. But the plot is a bit of a disappointment and after the ‘main event’ near the end there is a boring epilogue and I was waiting for it to finish so I could listen to something more interesting.

Maybe I’m just too shallow for old classics, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by this book. 7/10.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeroen
  • HaarlemNetherlands
  • 08-16-09

excellent narrator

excellent narrator!!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A wonderful thought provoking book

A wonderful thought provoking book! I enjoyed the ideas explored through the narrative. well worth the read.

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  • Tambo
  • 08-28-16

A true classic

Just let yourself be carried along with the lives of these characters and you will be rewarded. It was read beautifully. So much pain and passion involved. Wonderful.

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  • Catherine
  • 07-20-16

Classic novel, very well read

Classic novel, very well read. Certain passages may be a bit lengthy for some people. If you like the book you will love this audiobook.

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  • MH
  • 06-24-16

superb

A perfect coming together of three factors; fantastic translation, writing as good as it gets and reading/narration the best I've ever heard.

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  • L. Hannan
  • 05-19-16

Deep thoughts of human nature

Tolstoy talent describing feelings and inner thoughts is outstanding. The complexity of love and the insecurities that women have while in a relationship made this book very interesting for me, regarless it's age.

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  • Boatqueen
  • 05-18-16

Plumbs the depths of the human spirit

I was very sad when it finished - felt like I had lost a friend, until I realized I can always listen to it again.
Tolstoy is a master at probing and understanding the human spirit. And he does this more by asking questions and putting characters and their struggles into contrast than by giving answers.
I feel like someone has been rummaging in my soul.
That is not to say there is no story or plot to enjoy, and when I first encountered this book in my teens/early 20s that is all I paid attention to.
But now I am in my 60s I find myself riveted by the paradoxical contrasts between peasants and the nobility, and the barriers to agricultural and political reform as processed through the minds of the various characters, all of which, regardless of their outlook, Tolstoy made me love and understand.
This is a huge work that tackles problems, questions and challenges of what it means to be human and how to live a good life. As relevant today as it was then.
And now the performance - all I can say is David Horovitch made this book come alive in a way I could never achieve from simply reading it. Simply superb.

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  • romana di Suvero
  • 04-16-16

Brilliantly narrated

The reader does a fantastic job . He reads each character so well , one really gets a an insight into each of the characters personality !
One feels a part of Tolstoys Russia . A worthwhile audible marathon .

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  • Ashleigh M
  • 12-01-15

Loved It!

Anna Karenina wasn't the best audiobook I've listened to but was by no means the worst. David Horovitch is a great narrator and really gave the story that additional lift that I needed to get through it, I did listen to this in combination with reading a physical copy and that really works for me. It was an incredible book that I definitely feel benefited listening to the majority of. I've never listened to his performances before this but will definitely look for something else by him in the future.

As for characters I think it was Levin who I liked the most. However, even though I absolutely loathed her at points, Anna was an incredible character and possibly one of the best I've read in fiction. The writing of her and the full breadth of her character was incredible and very much deserving of the many hours this book took up.

It's an audiobook that I felt required a bit more time and, rather than my usual 2x speed I listened to this on 1.5x which was, for me, a good pace. Tolsoy's way with words is beautiful and I can't wait to explore more of his work in the future!

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  • Jakob
  • 10-07-15

Shouts and whispers

Great book, but unfortunately the narrator likes to alternate between whispering and almost shouting. I don't know under which circumstances other people listen to audiobooks, but I do it while driving, so each time the narrator whispers I have to turn up the volume, only to have him shouting at me in the next instant - effectively turning the experience of listening to this phenomenal book into a nuisance.

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  • "maggie_888_2000"
  • 06-02-15

An astonishing book

It's a long listen but well worth the effort. The narrator is the best I've come across and he characterises all people uniquely.

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  • Shirley
  • 05-05-15

A must!

A very interesting and informative account of the lives of people who are on the edge of reform both socially and politically.