Anna Karenina Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Winner: Audible's Best of 2016 - Classic
"Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books. But when I agreed to read it for Audible, I had no idea how much work it would be, how intense it would be, and how deeply I would fall in love with it. There were places where I thought 'if I don't give Alexey Alexandrovitch the respect that he deserves in my reading of this scene, a critical part of the book will be ruined. If I don't give EVERYONE the utmost respect and understanding, I'm not doing justice to this brilliantly compassionate book.' But at the same time, I also wanted to have a light touch in the way I played the different characters, so that the magnificence of the novel could shine through. I feel like performing this novel is one of the major accomplishments of my work life - it was so challenging and so deep, a real pleasure." (Narrator Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Leo Tolstoy's classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky. Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight, The Honourable Woman) cites Tolstoy's epic as one of her favorite books of all time, and her love for the literature permeates her performance. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.
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|Listening Length||35 hours and 35 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 12, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #12,903 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#352 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#723 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#868 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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One thing that really amazed me was how well Tolstoy could switch between different characters and settings. Everyone had distinct personalities and the way they were all portrayed was with so much compassion and understanding that as a reader I could really see parts of myself in everyone. There was no one character that I related to more than any other. I was able to relate to every single one of them differently. I believe this is the reason Tolstoy is considered a master.
The pace of the book is a little slow for me because I'm a slow reader, but in retrospect I feel like the pace was actually pretty good and it only felt slow because I had absolutely no idea where the story was going. Every chapter had something new happening and the story just strolled right along. Probably like riding a tractor for 50 miles. You've got plenty of time to look at all the flowers and clouds and barns and animals along the way, it takes forever, but it never stops moving.
It helped a lot to have this book on my kindle because towards the end there was more and more french that was easy to translate with the kindle. The port to the kindle was perfect. I saw no strange spacing or oddly misspelled words.
Overall I recommend giving this book a shot. Don't be discouraged by the length. I realize a reader may feel compelled to read this particular book just so they can say that they did. It's got that trophy book status. I feel like that's a bad thing though. If you find yourself a few hundred pages in and are interested in what's going on, then keep going. If however after a few hundred pages you feel like it's a chore to read, then don't bother, it's not going to suddenly become more interesting after any point in the book. It's very consistent, you can trust this author and the translation, the ending won't let you down, there will be no long lulls. What you get in the beginning is what you get through the entire book, it's very steady and very high quality writing.
If you looking for a thrilling story line with lots of twists and unexpected turns, this is probably not the book for you. I mean it's an interesting enough story, but it's involves things that happen all the time to ordinary people. What's so enjoyable is the way he DESCRIBES what's going on in each scene, each conversation, the thoughts and emotions of the characters as they deal with whatever unfolds in their lives. Especially I like he way he jumps around in his descriptions, what's going through her mind, what she says, what's her body language, what he sees, what he thinks, how it affects him, descriptions of the little physical clues to their feelings. He's moving around from character to character, from dialogue to thoughts to physical descriptions, and as you read, all of a sudden YOU'RE THERE! Actually you're more than there, because you see it from many different perspectives, and you just know exactly what they're feeling, thinking. It's really breathtaking is the best way to describe it as he's moving you around the scene seeing both the surface and deep into the character's thoughts and feelings. He even gets into the mind of the damn hunting dog, and after I got done rolling on the floor with laughter I got up and said "YES, YES, that's exactly how they think!"
This was my first Russian novel (other that something on Crime and Punishment years ago that I never finished and can't really recall) but it won't be my last, I'll read this again at least once, then will explore whatever else is out there. In fact the only down side to reading this book is that it may have ruined me for less compelling writers. Charles Dickens has always been one of my favorite writers, but I can't seem to get through David Copperfield all of a sudden...maybe happy people ARE all pretty much the same.
I also remember a similar line from Jonathan Franzen; he said he felt like he best knew David Foster Wallace when reading Infinite Jest even though he had known him personally for years.
The same can be said for Lev Tolstoy. You can read a biography and learn of his many inhumanities to his wife and other moral misdeeds. Or you can read Anna Karenina and see the life he aspired to.
Essential goodness above all worldly concerns, the primacy of human love and the ethical teachings of Jesus as the acme of morality. Styling himself a modern day prophet he saw in the simple faith of the Russian peasantry the antidote to many of the modern world’s many ills.
That he didn’t live up to this could be ascribed to his rejection of any form of historical or embodied Christianity; or, more likely, the difference between anyone’s ascent to ideals and the messiness of human life. I believe readers are closer to the real Lev Tolstoy when reading Anna Karenina than in the many biographies enumerating his ethical breaches. It enfleshes the life he wanted to lead far beyond his moral achievements (or lack there of).
Worth reading by all who are open-minded enough to think that some of the problems of modernity may actually be healed by those who may be lowly but who contain thousands of years of wisdom.
Top reviews from other countries
I skipped the parts about agriculture in nineteenth century Russia as this did not interest me and I didn't see what bearing it had on the fates of the characters.
Unfortunately, while the human drama of the novel has stood the test of time admirably, much of Tolstoy's social commentary has not fared so well. The sections on social economy, agriculture and political systems may have ben fascinating to a contemporary Russian reader but I found them lengthy, tedious, unnecessary and, dare I say it, dull. However, I'm more than willing to ignore the effect of these passages in light of the sheer brilliance of the rest of the book.
This particular translation (Penguin, 1954, this edition 2000) by Rosemary Edmonds is fantastic. Her prose is readable and appropriate, so that the book does not read like translated literature at all, but like any other nineteenth century novel. The illusion was so well-executed that the only time I was made aware that I wasn't reading original language literature was when characters discussed which pronouns to use to refer to one another, an aspect of language which is absent from modern English. Both the translation and the original writing make this a thoroughly excellent book.
What I also love is how Tolstoy gives us not just the actions of the characters, but there innermost thoughts and feelings as well - including the odd dog or two!!! Utterly wonderful to feel and know exactly what each character is going through and when a character such as Anna does not think of something, it shows just how far into denial she really is.
I'm totally spellbound by this book and encourage others to eat it up too.
Its a free kindle download, so you'd be daft not too!
I am only 22% through the book and I am really enjoying it so far, it's not as 'heavy' as I thought it would be. The story so far is of forbidden love, how Anna is pursued by Vronsky even though she married. She falls for him and so the turmoil starts...
The book also gives us and insight into what life was like in 1800's Russia, which is something I knew very little of. Further more after reading the short biography of Tolstoy (at the start of this book) you can see how he has used elements of himself in his male characters, Levin I think being the man he strives to be, working hard on his land not just for himself but for the good of all. Trying always to do the right thing be a good person. Vronsky who is more like the 'young' Tolstoy, a military man, out to satisfy himself, thinking little of others feelings we see this in the way Vronsky treats Kitty.
If you like a good love story with a good smattering of history thrown in, along with a host of supporting characters with their own little stories this is the book for you. This is a 'readable' book, not too heavy.