An Entertainment Weekly Pick of Tragic Love Stories to Read after “Seeing Me Before You”
An Oprah’s Book Club Selection
Sensual, rebellious Anna falls deeply and passionately in love with the handsome Count Vronsky. When she refuses to conduct the discreet affair that her cold, ambitious husband—and Russian high society—would condone, she is doomed. Set against the tragic love of Anna and Vronsky, the plight of the melancholy nobleman Konstantine Levin unfolds. In doubt about the meaning of life—a mirror of Tolstoy’s own spiritual crisis—Konstantine is haunted by thoughts of suicide. Through these and other characters, Tolstoy weaves a vast and rich tapestry of nineteenth-century Russian society.
A magnificent drama of vengeance, infidelity, and retribution, Anna Karenina tells the story of two characters whose emotional instincts conflict with the dominant social mores of their time.
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Originally published in book form in 1877
“Flawless as a work of art.”
“For years, I made a point of rereading Anna Karenina every summer. I am still bowled over by its freshness and its immediacy.”
Anne Tyler, Pulitzer Prize–winning American novelist
“Without a doubt my favorite love story is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina…In grandeur as is pathos, in the sweep of it as in the touching detail, it moves me now…just as it moved me long ago.”
Jan Morris, Welsh historian and author
“A sexy and engrossing read, this book tells the tale of one of the most enthralling love affairs in the history of literature.”
“There is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy’s best book, is definitely one ripping great read.”
Amazon.com, editorial review
“Considered one of the pinnacles of world literature.”
Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature
“Wanda McCaddon makes this literary cornerstone downright enjoyable…A wonderful listen.”
2 out of 2 (100%) recommend this productWrite a review
Quotidian and TitanicMarch 24, 2014For those of us who have been put off by Tolstoy’s reputation as Great Novelist, this book is a revelation. Great Novelists, we learn, are not always Serious or Glum Novelists. Along with the serious themes and sad outcomes, there is a great deal here to smile and even laugh at. As a consequence, it’s one of those books you inhabit and are able to move around in. You really like Levin. For all his philandering, you like Oblonsky. For all his mental rigidity and blue veins, you can empathize with Karenin. And most importantly, you see the fundamental good in Anna, which makes her slide all the more painful.
I’ve never read or heard a novel that was so true to life as this one. It is filled with the quotidian, the pleasant and displeasing, the funny and irritating details of life as well as the great moments of transgression, renunciation, suffering and joy. The near-overload of the former helps make the latter more convincing and real.
And if nothing else, the conversation between Levin and his dog is worth the price of admission.
One warning: if you’re intrigued by the blurb from Oprah.com calling this book “sexy”, please don’t hit “Purchase”. That appraisal was the act of an idiot, full of self-absorption, signifying nothing but the state of pop culture, which seeks to interpret everything greater than ourselves—and I defy you to find a work of art greater than this one—through the lens of mere appetite.
As far as the quality of the production, several annoying repetitions make a long book even longer. And I suspect that, because it couldn’t have been recorded in one sitting and maybe even not in a single studio, there are many
places where the room tone of the recording alters, as does May’s voice, making her sound for a few lines, or even a whole paragraph, like someone completely different.
But these are minor flaws in a near-perfect performance.
ClassicJuly 19, 2013The book is a classic for a reason - the writing, the storyline, the historical setting, the characters' - all amazing. The novel is sweeping and bigger than life but still somehow relatable. The narration by Wanda McCaddon was a perfect fit and really enjoyable. Her light style and pacing keep the book from dragging too much and feeling too serious - impressive with a novel of this length. You get a sense that Tolstoy had a sense of humor - or at least McCaddon gives him one through the real and thoroughly flawed characters she speaks as. If you’ve been meaning to read Anna Karenina for years, like me, this audio version is a great choice.
Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.
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- Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
- Genre: Fiction/Classics
- ISBN-13: 9781470837433