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Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Written by Leo Tolstoy

Narrated by Kate Lock


Anna Karenina

Written by Leo Tolstoy

Narrated by Kate Lock

ratings:
4/5 (308 ratings)
Length:
41 hours
Released:
Mar 1, 2010
ISBN:
9789629549343
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Anna Karenina is beautiful, married to a successful man, and has a son whom she adores. But a chance meeting at a train station in Moscow sets her passionate heart alight, and she is defenceless in the face of Count Vronsky’s adoration. Having defied the rules of nineteenth-century Russian society, Anna is forced to pay a heavy price. Human nature, with all its failings, is the fabric of which this great and intense work is composed. Anna Karenina has been described as the perfect Russian novel. Translated by Aylmer and Louise Maude.
Released:
Mar 1, 2010
ISBN:
9789629549343
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is the author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and other classics of Russian literature.


Reviews

What people think about Anna Karenina

4.1
308 ratings / 275 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I saw the movie and thought I would listen to the book. Very enjoyable as an audiobook although very long so it was great for painting my walls. The narrator does a fantastic job with the emotions of the characters. A very good classic.
  • (4/5)
    First, I started this book 4ish years ago. I would read a chunk of it, than stop for awhile, and pick it up a few months later. Its not an easy read - mostly because it seems like the names keep changing. I understand, what a person in Russia is called is dependent on the relationship, but its difficult. It took me awhile to figure it out. It also helped that the last third of the book had less characters. It would have helped to have a list of full names for the characters. Its a difficult book, but the pay off is immense if you can stick with it.This next part has spoilers, so, read at your own risk.Anne Karenina isn't necessarily about Anna - although the other characters revolve around her. This is a story about relationships. Good relationships, bad relationships and how society views relationships depending on gender. Anna is bored wife of a bureaucrat. Her husband provides for her, and lets her do her own thing, he doesn't make her a part of his life, basically ignoring her until he needs her presence. Anna is intelligent, beautiful, and make a whole room light up when she walks in. When she meets a military man named Vronsky, her whole world is turned upside down. He is a cad, leading young women on, and than dropping them as soon as he looses interest. But, Anna seduces him - even after she denies him, he continue to pursue and eventually Anna gives in. Her husband tries to make it work, but the allure of Vronsky calls - Anna eventually leaves him for Vronsky. But, Anna is still not free. Until she is granted a divorce, she is only a mistress and is ostracized from society, living a lonelier life than before. Eventually, this gets to her and she commits suicide by throwing herself before a train.The next couple is Dotty and Oblansky. Oblansky is Anna's brother, and like to spend money, dote on ballerina's, and gamble. Dotty holds the family together - making sure that there is money for the most basic of upper-class necessities. She considers divorcee him a number of times throughout the book, but it would leave her in a similar state as Anna, even though she would be in the right of the law.The last couple is Kitty and Levin. Kitty is Dotty's sister, and she was the young girl Vronsky led on right before Anna. Kitty ends up sick from the whole experience, but ultimately recovers when Levin ultimately proposes to her. They are the perfect couple, in love, and able to talk through problems, understanding each other's personalities, the good and the bad. These three couples form the core of what Anna Karenina is about. There is also a large parts of the book devoted to Levin's thoughts about peasantry, land management, pointlessness of the upper-class life in Moscow, and belief in God. I'm still pondering what this adds to the book, because it seems not to add anything, and at times, its overwritten and tends to ramble. I do think Levin is based off of Tolstoy and his life, but large chunks of this could have been removed to no effect of the rest.
  • (5/5)
    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So begins this novel, with one of it’s most famous lines, but only one of many in which the author makes broad and though-provoking statements about human nature. Anna Karenina is a study of relationships, love, and adultery - especially Anna’s passionate affair with Count Vronsky. This simple description of the plot, however, hides the truly staggering depth of the novel. Along with Vronsky and Anna’s relationship, the many other romantic relationships presented raise questions about the nature of love; about the way society views men and women differently for their romantic choices; and about what it means to be happy.The writing in this book was a pleasure to read, one of those books were you savor the sentences. The author is often funny, dry, or witty in his insights into human nature. The characters are all amazingly well developed, with both good and bad qualities and believable motivations. Even when characters don’t seem very sympathetic at first, Tolstoy does an incredibly job pulling you into each character’s world view and making you feel for them. The relationships are as complex as the characters and could be difficult to follow. Fortunately, Tolstoy introduces characters clearly and slowly so his readers can keep up. My only complaint would be that he often uses full names, titles, and Russian nicknames for characters, which does make it harder to keep track of who is who.One complaint you’ll often hear about this novel, is that Tolstoy enjoys his digressions. There are hunting expeditions, local elections, and so many character’s philosophical musings, none of which advance the romantic plots that pulled me in. Some of these didn’t bother me, since I enjoyed the book for the author’s study of human nature. Still, I was going to give this novel four stars for the philosophical discussions of things that interest me less than love and relationships, such as the Russian economy. But when I sat down to write the description, I realized that this was a novel so good, I didn’t feel I could do it justice in my description. Anna’s bravery and passion for life captured my heart, as she has the hearts of so many others. Read this one for the characters, the commentary on life, but mostly for the experience of meeting Anna because no one but Tolstoy can really do her justice.
  • (4/5)
    (Original Review, 1981-02-24)If you're not familiar with the The Orthodox Church's intricacies, don't bother reading the novel. It might also to understand the social context in which Anna Karenina is set, which Tolstoy doesn't explain because he was writing for fellow members of the Orthodox Church who would have understood the particular nuances. For Russian society at the time, an immoral act was one that offended all Creation and therefore God himself - it is quite common for Russian priests even now to admonish those confessing to serious sins by telling them that they are 'spitting in Christ's face'. Yet there are subtleties to Anna's predicament that are probably lost on Westerners: unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which forbids divorce for any reason, the Orthodox Church permits this where a marriage has irrevocably broken down, on the basis that it was never based on true love in the first place and thus null and void. So in the novel it is only Karenin's pride (which for the Orthodox is the greatest sin of all) that stands in the way of dissolving his tragically unhappy marriage. Anna's action challenges the hypocrisy of society and she brings down the anger of the hypocrites upon herself because she has the barefaced cheek to expect people to behave towards her as they did before her "fall" from grace. Her "friends", such as the poisonous Princess Betsy, desert her because she is an uncomfortable reminder of their own failings.In fact, I'd go a little further and suggest that the absence of clearly defined mores has led to the proliferation of petty judgementalism infiltrating every aspect of life. It's like Jacques Lacan said about Dostoyevsky's famous quote, ('If God is dead, everything is permitted'), accurately turning it around to say "If God is dead, nothing is permitted." And so we all throw the first stone at one another...The great Victorian judge and political philosopher James Fitzjames Stephen said that the main deterrent to crime is not the law, but public opinion. He was right. One of the reasons Arab countries have such a low crime rate is that a thief would be shunned by his family and wider community. The most judgmental people I know are self-described non-judgmentalists: they hate (straightforwardly) judgmental people, i.e. people with personalities, who don't have to cling on to PC BS in order to create a persona for themselves.PS. Something I didn't know until recently was that Vronsky, like Levin, was based on Tolstoy's own experiences. He represented Tolstoy's own shallow, artificial lifestyle that he gave up and was ashamed of. Vronsky is mature, attractive and amoral. He sees nothing wrong with pursuing a married woman because society's hypocrisy allows for that, but he gets in deeper than he intended. Not the deepest of characters, but Vronsky's casting in this film was absolutely ridiculous.
  • (1/5)
      This book was definitely not written for me. I'm glad I can say I finally read it, well listened to the audiobook, but that's about all I can be thankful for. The narrator had a pleasing voice and did a good job on the reading. I just didn't like the book. It was very boring in my opinion and just didn't interest me.
  • (5/5)
    great way to kick off '09. loved it. probably in my top 10 favorite books ever if i kept a list like that..