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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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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.)

56 people found this helpful

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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.

43 people found this helpful

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Awful Narration

I couldn’t get through half an hour of the over the top, loud, grating narration! No one converses like that. What were they thinking? The narrators massacred this incredible literary masterpiece. What a shame.

24 people found this helpful

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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!!!!

15 people found this helpful

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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!

11 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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Grating

Often there is a reason why things are free! I traded this in for a recording that deserves using a credit. The voice of the narrator brought me close to nervous break down. I only listened to three hours. Way over acted! I worked in a dinner theater, and this is the voice that we would use for some deranged pirate jokester, not a literary classic.

5 people found this helpful

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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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Poorly/unnaturally read

Just a few minutes of the voice acting is too much. Something is odd here; she overacts the speeches, and the narration is in strange bursts, as if the text was sprinkled with commas and she is faithfully reproducing them all.

4 people found this helpful

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Narration

Ms Newton did an absolutely phenomenal job narrating this classic! It is very well done

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dylan Keville
  • 11-06-21

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

18 people found this helpful

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  • Rys2512
  • 11-06-21

Absolutely exquisite

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

13 people found this helpful

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  • AL
  • 11-14-21

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

5 people found this helpful

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  • Michael and Jane Bochenski
  • 02-05-22

WHAT A BOOK!

📚 It was time! I was in my twenties when I first read War and Peace. For a while I have wanted to come back to it, and then this came out. Thandiwe Newton, one of my favourite contemporary actors, narrating W&P in a 60 hour marathon. I began it on New Year’s Day and finished it during this morning’s exercise routine. TN is brilliant – so many characters, experiences, contexts and nuances come expertly to life as she reads. As for the book, with its blend of large scale history and smaller scale human life and loves, WHAT A BOOK! It has again amazed me. I cannot better Dostoievsky’s verdict – who can? “My strong conviction is that a writer of fiction has to have most profound knowledge—not only of the poetic side of his art, but also the reality he deals with, in its historical as well as contemporary context. [In Russia] as far as I see it, only one writer excels in this, Count Lev Tolstoy." 🎧 (Michael).

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs U
  • 01-08-22

A fantastic adventure - highly recommended

I've read War and Peace several times and wasn't sure whether I should bother with the audiobook. I'm so pleased I did. Thandiwe Newton brings Tolstoy's story and characters to life. I have to admit to usually skimming through his epilogue where he rambles on about history and freewill etc. but with Thandiwe's narration I kept going to the very end. If you've never read the story before you really should, and this audible version is perfect. If you've read it before, it's definitely worth revisiting with Thandiwe Newton's assured narration - you won't regret it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Julius B.
  • 01-09-22

Bad narrator

The book interests me but couldnt enjoy this because of the narrator. Will look for a different version.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-07-22

brilliant

a long listen but worth every minute. Thandiwe Newton's performance deserves awards of the highest accolades. what a story, what history, what observation and intelligence. just loved it from beginning to end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kristi Adham
  • 01-01-22

Great work

It was a book that I had put off for a long time. I was very glad to find this version. The reading is fantastic, very well done. The only part that bugged me was the pronunciation of the Russian names, they were read as if they were British/American instead of Russian.

2 people found this helpful

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  • L Whitnall
  • 12-04-21

Wow!

I knew Thandiwe Newton was a fine actor but this must count amongst her best work. Absolutely incredible, epic stuff!

2 people found this helpful

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  • A_tavern
  • 06-12-22

Talented narrator

This is one of my favourite books but the first time I’ve listened to it. I love the tangled web of love and deceit and the underlying coming of age story of five characters. It may be long but it’s worth it. As always though, the only bits of the book that become a bit tiresome are Tolstoy’s monologues emphasising his hidden agenda to convert people to his way of thinking about war, not that I disagree, it just interrupts the flow of the story. The narrator was amazing; there are so many characters and she managed to make them all come alive with her inflections and portrayal of their personalities.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-21

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!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mohan Paul
  • 07-04-22

I love this audiobook version of War and Peace

A lively entertaining rendition of War and Peace. When I was younger I could never get through the book version. By the time I finished I'd forgotten the beginning! I didn't have that problem with this audiobook.

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  • Rodney McNamara
  • 03-14-22

Fantastic

A great way to revisit War and Peace , easy way to follow the characters.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-18-22

Fantastic performance

The reader was AMAZING! The variety of voices and accents was incredible and added much to my enjoyment of the book. Thanks

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  • Daniel Smartt
  • 12-31-21

Fantastic classic

Finally, a performance which lives up to the story. See how war affects the individual characters.

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  • Jennifer H Lindsay
  • 12-29-21

Loved all 60 hours.

A brilliant performance of a must read book. The description of that amazing arc of Russian history brings it to life.

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  • Profit
  • 12-23-21

Unbelievable Drivel

I cannot get past the first hour or so of this garbage. It may be a classic but the overacting of the narrator and the terrible voices really put me off.
The story itself? - self indulgent rubbish.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-15-21

Very entertaining

- i liked and enjoyed how the story was read with actual emotion and expressions. Great tone too, terrific work!!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-21

Masterpiece

This reading of War and Peace is very well done, great narration. It’s a classic piece of literature that deserves the time commitment to read.