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Anna Karenina (BBC Audio) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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About the Author
Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia on 9 September 1828. In 1852 he published his first work, the autobiographical Childhood. He served in the army during the Crimean War and his Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6) are based on his experiences. His two most popular masterpieces are War and Peace (1864-69) and Anna Karenina (1875-8). He died in 1910.
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Top Customer Reviews
The adaptor makes use of various peripheral characters to act as narrators: Anna's sister-in-law Dolly, her maid Anushka, Vronsky's manservant. This doesn't really work: if explication is needed, then an overall authorial voice would have been better.
It would while away a long car journey, but is no substitute for reading the novel.
I wonder if Anna Karenina is too difficult to put into script form. I have been similarly disappointed with the recent film adaptation of the novel - with Kiera Knightly where horror of horror, insufficient budget resulted in a line drawing of St Basils being used instead of the real thing.
Listening to this archive recording from 1997 with its superb cast of actors, the next best thing to reading the book itself, I was reminded of the impact this book had at its publication. It is a very moral story, a misogynistic one as it is Anna who is punished for her "crime" but the overriding sensation and my reaction as a 21st century listener is its tone. Although not strictly judgemental it is a book that condemns anyone who strays outside the strict codes of family, marriage and an established moral code.
The novel is Tolstoy's domestic masterpiece and its relevance is surely what keeps it forever in the top ten list of world literature, for, although,history shows us that progress is essential for evolution there are some templates set down centuries ago that have to be adhered to.
The recording here with the most splendid sound effects ~ the evocation of the busy railway stations that bookend the novel so skillfully is absolutely splendid ~ will, no doubt, become a land mark in the representation of this awesome novel and, though edited to keep with its allotted time slot, loses nothing of the intricacies of the novel.
So, production quality good, performances good, story - love, jealousy, betrayal etc, adaptation - started well but fizzled out. For those who have avoided Tolstoy previously, this might be a reasonable introduction, but it might be worth hunting out a better translation if you find the ending of this disappointing.
Recommended, with caveats.
Despite my rather limited attention span, I found that the production gripped me throughout, and was certainly a much quicker way to absorb the plot than reading this huge tale, even if some of the backstory/sub-plots and subtleties are sacrificed as a result. Yet again though, I found the BBC notes miserly in the extreme (as with most of their radio drama collections), with little context given, nor any track information to help the listener 'cue' to an appropriate part of the narrative. It's also worthwhile pointing out that, unlike many of the other recent BBC sets, this one dates from 1997. I'm torn between 3/4 stars, but given its relatively modest price, and impressive production values, have opted for the latter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well done BBC - as is expected - a wonderful dramatisation of a wonderful book. To just sit back and listen as this epic story unfolds is someting to be experienced.Published 22 months ago by Elizabeth S. Wells
Finally, this big old slab of a book is given scripted room to maneuver. It's not that much longer than some screen adaptations, about another hour and a bit, but audio allows... Read morePublished on 2 May 2013 by Stuart Burns
Anna Karenina is a very special book to a lot of people. I've not read it; but for friends that have it clearly made a strong impression. Read morePublished on 20 April 2013 by bomble
Note: This review refers to the Full Cast Radio Dramatisation - Amazon appear to collect all reviews for all the different editions in one place. Read morePublished on 17 Feb. 2013 by Christopher Meadows
My friends have always referred to Anna Karenina as one of the greats of world literature so when it came to prominence recently with the new film with Keira Knightley and Jude Law... Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2013 by M. Williams
I lovely accessible charming adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. I think the lightness and charm of this adaptation of the novel is great it made the story a pleasure to listen... Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2013 by artemisrhi
This production brings the timeless tale of Anna K to life.The acting and effects are very atmospheric and the whole thing is of the high quality one expects from a BBC radio... Read morePublished on 7 Jan. 2013 by scoon2
Anna Karenina, an iconic piece of literature written by Tolstoy, an epic full of characters, romance, complex society issues. Read morePublished on 20 Dec. 2012 by badger