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Publisher's Summary

Tolstoy’s epic novel of love and war, in an unabridged performance by Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning actress Thandiwe Newton. 

Some call it the greatest novel ever written. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re ready to dive back in, what better way to experience this epic novel than in this exquisite unabridged reading by Thandiwe Newton?     

War and Peace is at once an epic war chronicle and an exploration of everything that make us all human: love and hate, ambition and despair, life and death. Allow yourself to get lost in the lives of three Russian aristocratic families, whose triumphs and challenges are every bit as resonant to today’s listener as they were to original readers. Thandiwe Newton inhabits each character with such flair that it is easy to forget that you are listening to one voice. 

So cancel all plans, sit back, and let Thandiwe transport you to 19th-century Saint Petersburg....  

Public Domain (P)2021 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about War and Peace

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Fantastic!

It took a few chapters to get used to the various voices employed by the narrator. Though slightly cringe inducing at the start, they were consistent and proved invaluable to keeping track of the many characters. As always with Tolstoy, much time is taken in creating depth and complexity of characters and the context in which they dwell. This makes it so much the more difficult to say goodbye at the end- even after 70+ hours!

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  • Tad Davis
  • 14-11-2021

Wonderful

I admit that I’ve only listened to a few chapters, but some of the initial feedback on the audiobook is undeservedly negative, and I wanted to cast my vote while the production is still new. War And Peace is a months-long project, and I expect to revisit my review a couple of times before I’m done.

Thandiwe Newton gives an unusual reading of the novel, and that may account for one of the negative reviews. Certainly tastes will vary. It’s an enthusiastic reading, no question about that, far more “performative” than most I’ve heard. One way of describing it might be “overly broad,” but the word that occurred to me as I was listening to it was “iridescent.” It is a performance that brings the many characters to life and adds zing to the sometimes mundane action of the “peace” sections of the novel. It is so much more preferable than the monotone employed by several other readers of the same translation.

(The Maude translation is not my favorite but is highly regarded by those who can read the original. A recent revision from Oxford restored much of the French dialogue of Tolstoy’s original text, most of which the Maudes had rendered into English, as here. I would prefer a revision that went in the opposite direction and removed almost all the French, apart from an occasional phrase: there isn’t much here, but I have the feeling that what there is may be conveying something important. Newton pronounces it beautifully, but sadly, as a typical provincial American, when it does occur I can only guess at the meaning.)

38 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Garcia
  • 07-11-2021

Best Narrator - Best Translation

Thandie Newton and the Maude translation make for a truly great Tolstoy experience. She carries the story extremely well. Her voices for the characters are distinct and very enjoyable. I listened to this effortlessly for hours. A beautiful book.

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  • Rachel H
  • 18-11-2021

War and Peace brought to life!!!

I have listened to a few narrated versions of this beautiful piece of literature and this one is by far my favorite!! I have heard such monotone versions... this narrator brings the words to life and I don't think I will listen to any others from now on!! BRAVO!!!!

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  • Quiltraveler
  • 24-11-2021

Fascinating

After having read previous reviews, I decided to modify the narrator by slowing down the speed 0.85. This seemed to help a lot with the brashness of the narration. I was one of those who believed I would never commit the time to read this book or have it read to me. I am so glad that I made the commitment. Tolstoy is incredibly insightful about the nature of human behavior. As a psychology buff, I was impressed with his analysis of human thinking and behavior. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Stephanie
  • 25-11-2021

Thandie Newton gives a superb performance!

The novel, of course, is timeless, and Thandie Newton does an excellent job of bringing its huge cast of characters to brilliant life. In addition to juggling 3 [at least] languages, she gives each character their own unique voice that carries throughout the entire 60 hour performance. Brava!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-11-2021

I was disappointed in the narration

I liked how Thandie performed Jane Eyre but I found her performance here to be grating and annoying and hard to listen to. It was exaggerated. I listened for two hours and couldn’t take any more. I was unable to enjoy it.

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  • SecretPoet
  • 30-11-2021

Epic

This reading of war and peace changed my entire mind about War and Peace. I felt it and understood it…. And loved it. Finally, a classic that is truly delicious.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-11-2021

Thandiwe Newton deserves Grammy

Brings alive with a skill that matches or surpasses the best orators.
Yes, as some have criticized, it may take an hour or two for American ears to adjust to the style. Beyond that brief acclimation, this is truly spectacularly done.

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  • Timothy Landwerlen
  • 30-11-2021

Great story ruined by terrible narration

I somehow managed to get 3 or 4 hours into this audiobook before I realized I was subjecting myself to my own torture. The high pitched shrieks of the narrator have caused hearing damage for me and my dog.

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  • David
  • 28-11-2021

Simply the best read audiobook.

Tolstoy has and always will be an undeniable corner stone of literature and thanks to to the incredible talent of Thandiwe Newton I found the narrative very approachable and entertaining.

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  • Dylan Keville
  • 06-11-2021

Classic

What a classic story with the perfect narrator to match much recommend if you can make it through 60+hrs. It’s much worth the listen

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  • Rys2512
  • 06-11-2021

Absolutely exquisite

What a treat for the ears. Thank you, Thandiwe and Audible for this wonderful gift

12 people found this helpful

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  • AL
  • 14-11-2021

Great reading of a classic

Great reading of a classic, the narrator really brings it to life though the dialogue is sometimes spoken in an obnoxiously loud half-yell that could have added character but becomes tiring very quickly

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  • historical reader
  • 21-11-2021

Not a relaxing listen

Great story, the reading sounds a little rushed and is not a great relaxing experience.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-11-2021

Brilliant book

I love the story and listened knowing it to be a lengthy book, with that I think that some more thought could have gone into the voices and accents used. Obviously Napoleon is a big character in the book and I found the accent used for him hard to listen to at times.

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  • Andrew M. Woodward
  • 23-11-2021

Was expecting more

I thought Thandiwe Newton would nail this but sadly she doesn't have the range of voices that you need to bring this to life. Too many of the male characters are just "shouty". Her passion is there and she drives the narrative wonderfully but too many characters, especially the men, are indistinguishable

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