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War and Peace is a book that I put off reading for quite a long time. I have to say that I regret not having read it earlier in life, as the characters are so very true to life, and the story, while specific to its time, has themes that are universal and timeless. As one familiar with the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, I found Tolstoy's Russia of the same time period to be startlingly familiar in many ways, and quickly became engrossed in the story.
Listening to it in Audio book format only adds to the pleasure, as Neville Jason narrates each scene with superb timing, and is able to pitch his voice and change his tempo to put real "character" behind each character. It seems impossible, but he's able to portray both young and old women in a variety of circumstances in such a way that you ~never~ feel he's striking a false not, or tempt you to laugh at the voices he summons for them.
The basic character of humanity apparently does not change. Tolstoy's asides (Such as "Like all young men, he was determined to make his opinion known.") are as true today as when he wrote them. The nature and actions of the many people within the book are never dull, sometimes moving, often very funny, and always authentic.
I've purchased a printed version of War and Peace which I will look forward to re-reading from time to time, and may keep a few audio chapters handy for "impulse listening" in the future.
By all means, take a listen - War and Peace's reputation is wholly deserved.
64 of 64 people found this review helpful
I have loved W&P since college--and that's a long time ago. I've read it, I suppose, twenty times. But never have I enjoyed it quite so much as in this splendid reading. Neville Jason is a genius. (And, duh, so is Tolstoy.) Highly recommended.
37 of 37 people found this review helpful
This is a superb reading. All too often with very long works read as audiobooks the monotonous, mechanical tone of the reader gives the impression that the words come out of the mouth without ever going anywhere near the mind. But Neville Jason proves to be an ideal reader for such a vast and varied novel. The narration is constantly sensitive to the tone and pace of Tolstoy's writing and he has an impressive skill in differentiating and giving a plausible voice to each of the many characters. Even readers who are very familiar with the text will find this reading illuminates scene after scene.
As for the novel itself recommendation is superfluous for anyone who has once read this marvellous book. I can think of very few other novels that leave the reader with so vivid a sense of lived experience and once read forever haunt the imagination. But if anyone has been deterred from undertaking such a lengthy work this excellent audiobook may well prove the ideal way to get to know one of the supreme(and most enjoyable) masterpieces of world literature.
74 of 75 people found this review helpful
This is a masterclass in how an audiobook should be read. If you have always promised yourself to read/re-read War & Peace and just haven't got round to it do yourself a favour and download this version, I think you can all imagine the
unremitting tedium of a boringly read W&P - this is anything but.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
It's an epic but so exquisite in its finely crafted protagonists. Covers so many facets of the human condition, it may surprise you.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Leo Tolstoy or narrated by Neville Jason?
The narrator was very good.
What could Leo Tolstoy have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
I am 13hrs in and we are still in the third drawing room introducing characters. It might be a classic for its stylistic prose, but god it's slow.
Which character – as performed by Neville Jason – was your favourite?
Was War and Peace, Volume 1 worth the listening time?
As a story, not for me, but those interested in the academic aspects would enjoy.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful