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Anna Karenina

By: Leo Tolstoy
Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Public Domain (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Anna Karenina

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The best way to experience Anna Karenina

There's no denying that Anna Karenina is a masterpiece, but like all masterpieces, it can also be a hard read. It's long. There are lots of people with confusing names. There are parts about politics that drag on and you have no idea why you're still reading. And did I mention it's long?
Though this has been one of my favorite books for a long time, I'm so glad I decided to listen to the audio version as I think it clarifies some of the things that can be missed in the reading of it. The names for one thing become a lot clearer when you hear someone else say them correctly.
Maggie Gyllenhaal does an outstanding job of the reading and is able to portray the characters and the feeling of each scene in such a perfect way. Some might wonder at the ability to carry off so many male voices without them all blending into one or not seeming masculine enough but she both articulates the individuals and expresses the male characters wonderfully.
Whether you have previously read the book or it's a new work of fiction for you, I highly recommend listening to this version of Anna Karenina.

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17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Returning due to the narrator

By the 9th chapter I was almost asleep. While having a very smooth voice, there was very little emotion in the reading, and absolutely no distinction between character voices. This was confusing as the many character names are complex and tricky to follow on their own if it is your first time, as it is mine. I'm going to try a different narrator and hope for a more dramatic reading.

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9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Long but worth it

I'm not sure I would have ever picked up Tolstoy in another format, but the performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal (particularly when she finds her rhythm a few chapters into the book) make this story not just digestible but utterly delightful. Unquestionably Tolstoy was a master of human insight, and his articulation of such diverse characters and their struggles ensure his observations transcend both time and culture.

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8 people found this helpful

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  • 21-09-2016

Stunning and faultless reading of this classic

I've read and loved this book before but Maggie G's exquisite, intuitive, sophisticated reading gave this powerful story new depths. I highly recommend this to fans of Tolstoy and searchers of the perfect narrator. You've found her. Look no further.

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6 people found this helpful

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Best Narrator Ever (and the best book too !!)

Maggie Gyllenhaal is sublime in her narration of this book. She makes this first rate story come alive and the book is easily the best of all time. Congratulations Maggie - you’re truly capital 👏👏👏

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Worth it

Having tried and failed to read a different 'classic' long ago and taking into account how much I enjoyed M.G.'s narration of another (much shorter ) book, I decided to purchase this.

It took a while to get into, around the end of part 3 is where it got much easier to 'read' for me.

In spite of not loving most of the Levin chapters(honestly wondered why this wasn't named Konstantin Levin/Anna Karenina multiple times), I would still recommend this book.

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Lovely voice

I love Maggie’s voice she can speak French beautifully but her German was unrehearsed and awful! Story is classic.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful

Maggie does an excellent job pacing through this novel. Her voice is comforting and while she doesn’t have the biggest range between characters it is clear who is speaking when dialogue occurs. I quite prefer that to some of the outlandish voices other narrators put on the characters.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Maggie Gyllenhal ruins it

Naggie has an expressionless narration and butchers the pronunciation of most words. ruined the book.

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Perfection!

I have tried to read this book at least three times but could never get into it. It was only when it was read to me by the talented Maggie Gyllenhaal that I finally started enjoying and appreciating this book. M Gyllenhaal conveys the meaning that I was missing left to my own devices. If I did not find this audible version I doubt I would have ever read or appreciated this book,

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