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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

This Penguin Classic is performed by Miranda Pleasence, the stage and television actress best known for her roles in Notes on a Scandal, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and The Affair of the Necklace. This definitive recording includes an introduction by Richard Pevear.

Tolstoy's epic novel of love, destiny and self-destruction.

Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike and soon brings jealously and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Levin, a man striving to find contentment and a meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself.

This acclaimed modern translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky won the PEN/Book of the Month Club Translation Prize in 2001. 

©2003 Translation: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The new and brilliantly witty translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is a must." (Lisa Appignanesi, Independent, Books of the Year)

"Pevear and Volokhonsky are at once scrupulous translators and vivid stylists of English, and their superb rendering allows us, as perhaps never before, to grasp the palpability of Tolstoy's characters, acts, situations." (James Wood, New Yorker)

What listeners say about Anna Karenina

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Happy listeners are all alike

I sampled a dozen narrations of Anna Karenina, including several sections of the Maggie Gyllenhaal version that’s included in Audible membership, before settling on this one. I chose this one because Miranda Pleasance reads it with enthusiasm and gives each character a unique personality. She makes 37 hours of audio fly by. If you’re having trouble picking a version (not to mention maddening yourself with finding the “right” translation — this is Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s, if that matters to you) I highly recommend dropping a credit on this one.

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beautiful work of art

This is a gorgeous and highly enjoyable novel, and the narration is stellar. Do listen to this translation as it is the gold standard.

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Fantastic rendition with few quibbles

I vastly prefer this recording on the Pevear-Volokonsky translation over that voiced by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Ms. Pleasance creates wonderful characterizations and keeps the pace brisk (aside from speeding the narration). There's a real sense that Ms. Pleasance is superbly aware of the hierarchy of social classes in Russia in the time the novel is set, which I deeply appreciate. Ms. Pleasance does have a slight lisp, which some might have a quarrel with, but I did not. I can't say that I caught any other mistakes, but on p. 602 Ms. Pleasance flubs the translated text and substitutes "Vronsky" for "Veslovsky".

I very much enjoyed the novel itself, the translation, and the narration, but I'm not yet an Anna Karenina partisan. There are some chapters on hunting and farming that leave me cold, and the central love affair in the beginning is rushed as is the dénouement at the end.

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love this so much

This was narrated by Miranda Pleasance and was very pretty. She was very wonderful

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Wonderful narrator!

I listened to several samples before deciding to spend a credit on this version, and it was 100% worth it!

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Loved it

Love the book. Love the narration. I sometimes struggle with keeping straight Russian names, particularly since this work frequently switches between nicknames (i.e. Stepan Arkadyevich, aka Stiva, aka Oblonski). The narrator gave such clearly distinct voices to each character that I now feel silly for struggling with this. The narrator also managed to keep me engaged in Levins philosophical ramblings.

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Love this JOINT!

I'm already planning a reread of this great classic Russian novel! "On to War and Peace ..."

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Strong performance of a classic.

From our modern perspective, it's easy to overlook just how ground-breaking this novel was in Russia at the time of it's writing. I found the narration to be exceptional throughout.

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  • Ms. Siobhan Avis
  • 10-10-20

Beautifully, sensitively read. Thoroughly transported to 19th century Russia

Having always wanted to read Anna Karenina but never feeling quite ready to tackle such an epic, I decided to try the Audio book samples on Audible.
I listened to a few samples before I found this stunning reading by Miranda Pleasence. She reads it absolutely beautifully.
Her voice adapts subtly for each character enhancing their form and personality so you quickly feel you recognise each of them well. She reads with a depth and passion that transports you to another world.
I was instantly absorbed and captured by the story.
An epic tale set in opulent 19th century Russia. Exploring love, happiness, envy, morality, spirituality, life and death.
The intricacies of different relationships and marriages of the time were a real education for me in what it must have been like to be a women in high society Russia in the 1800’s .
The story is written entertainingly and colourfully amd carries you along in the drama, yet Tolstoy is consistently exploring the deeper meaning of life through each characters inner thoughts.
I’m pretty in awe of how Tolstoy, being a man describes the emotions of Anna Karenina herself..... I won’t write any more to avoid spoilers!

I highly recommend this adaptation read by Miranda Pleasence.

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  • Meira
  • 08-09-20

A wonderful experience

Miranda Pleasence has brought magic to this magnificent book. It was a brilliant experience that brought me emotions, tears and life. The whole 36 and 59 mins were an unforgettable experience. Total genius. Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-02-20

FINALLY! The ultimate audio version.


I would like to congratulate Penguin for finally cracking the difficult task of making the ultimate audio version of this epic book.
I’ve tried to listen to audio versions of Anna Karenina several times in the past but never lasted more than a few chapters.
The skilful narration by Miranda Pleasance is captivating. I look forward to listening to more of her narration. Highly recommended.

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  • James A
  • 05-13-22

Amazing Narration

The narration of Pleasence is amazing in this book – bringing the characters to life and making this 37-hour long audiobook wonderful to listen to.

The story too is amazing. The marketing team for this book really needs to sort this out – forget talking about greatness and this being "Tolstoy's greatest work" or whatever – What you are getting with this book is 37 hours of GOSSIP and DRAMA. This book is the equivalent of a friend telling you about their friend's messy divorce and I love it. Whenever MY friends get divorced they just shout at each other and make group get-togethers awkward, but hearing about someone you don't know's divorce? There is no greater joy than to hear how it unwinds.

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  • Sarah A
  • 09-29-20

ONE OF MT FAV CLASSICS!


OHHH to be a young woman in love inside a classic 😍 Anna Karenina was book about so much more than love. This book follows numerous characters as they fall in and out of love, as they explore philosophy and economic debates and as they grow their families. This book included much more than what I expected. I simply thought we would be following Anna as she fell in love. But it turned out to be much and scandalous 😳 For a piece of literature that was published in 1877 in Russia, the themes in this book were fairly relatable to current times. Leo Tolstoy is one of my favourite authors and Anna Karenina is now definitely one of my favourite classics of all time. This book is heavily driven by its characters and takes place over a large amount of time. If you’re into plots, you won’t like this book. But for classics I’ve come to expect a bunch of people sitting around talking all day and so that’s what I love about them🤍 the translation of this books is wonderfully done and from what I know, it doesnt seem much was lost during the process. Anna as the main character is extremely flawed but just as likeable and I believe I understand why Tolstoy names the novel after her. Truly a wonderful novel and I’m so glad I read it🥰