The Neville Jason performance of Tolstoy’s War & Peace has been selected as a Top 12 Fiction title for Best Audiobooks Of 2007 by AudioFile Magazine. War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869. In addition it is, famously, one of the longest books in Western literature and therefore a remarkable challenge for any reader. Translated by Aylmer and Louise Maude.
25 CDs | Running Time: 31h 25m | ISBN: 978-962-634-433-0 | Cat. no.: NAX43312 | RRP: £75.00RRP:£75.00 GBPSRP: US $ 137.98RRP:£75.00 GBP
The ABC Bookshow: War and Peace
Nicolas Soames and Peter Watts join Michael Shirrefs on the ABC Book Show to discuss the growing demand for audiobooks, and the unabridged recording of War and Peace on Naxos AudioBooks.
Courtesy of ABC.
Clicking on the link(s) above and downloading the file(s) signifies you have read, understand, and agree to the
Terms and Conditions of using Naxos AudioBooks digital downloads.
1. Right-click the link(s) above and
2. choose “Save Target As...” in the popup menu
3. Click the Save button in the “Save dialog box”.
4. The file will be downloaded to the place you have specified.
1. Click the link(s) above (or control-click on it and choose “Download link/linked file” from the popup menu).
If I’ve read the runes correctly, things are definitely looking up for audio purists (like me) who want their books unabridged. Sales of tamper-proof titles were up by 60% last year for adults and 50% for children which, let’s hope, will persuade publishers who produce only cut-down versions to think again.
From this you can guess that my talking book of the year is War and Peace on 51 CDs, in two impressively boxed volumes, adding up to 61 hrs 45 mins of listening time. Now that’s what I call an epic. Funny, last time I heard the whole thing on cassette it was three hours longer but that’s maybe because it was for blind students and the reader kept stopping to spell names like Bezukhov and Melyukovka. Tolstoy’s classic, set in Russia before, during and after Napoleon’s ill-fated invasion in 1812, rarely features in the best-ever novels charts but that’s only because, though everyone’s heard of it, not many people have actually read it. Here’s your chance. You may have seen a film version – the best is Sergei Bondarchuk’s incredible 1968 blockbuster which had half the Soviet army as extras and 35,000 costumes. But to get into the characters – the real characters of Field Marshal Kutuzov and Bonaparte’s inner circle of generals, not just the romantic leads – you need Tolstoy’s words. Take it to the gym, keep it in the car and let the salons of St Petersburg, the battle of Austerlitz and the vastness of the snow-covered steppes wash over you. Neville Jason’s voice, calm and understated, is the perfect vehicle for this cast of thousands. Give it to someone special for Christmas: trust me, it’s worth every penny.
Sue Arnold, The Guardian
The door-stopping unabridged War and Peace becomes compelling as you are caught up in Tolstoy’s novel. Neville Jason is to be congratulated on never flagging.
Christina Hardyment, The Times
Set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, this unabridged War and Peace is a gargantuan recording accomplishment, particularly for Neville Jason, who reads every word Tolstoy wrote. From the opening in Anna Pavlovna’s pretentious drawing room, I fell under the spell of the gentle and seductive elegance of Jason’s voice. Tolstoy’s musings on the role of battle leaders and on the march of history are particularly pertinent listened to against the backdrop of our own history-shaping Iraq war. An unexpected highlight, brought out by the beautifully paced narration, was Tolstoy’s complex and inventive similes.
Rachel Redford, The Observer
This famously long Russian novel is, concede the audio producers, ‘a remarkable challenge for any reader’. Neville Jason’s performance is supple and relaxed in the sample five hours of the total 62 I’ve dipped into (contrary to this column’s usual practice, I haven’t listened to them all), and he makes the members of the Russian upper crust with their confusingly changeable names into identifiable characters, especially the women. The characters live out Tolstoy’s theories about history, philosophy, monarchy, the intellect and the will, with Pierre, the bastard son of a St Petersburg grandee, at their centre, as they become embroiled in Napoleon’s wars. At, say, two hours’ listening a day, the Bezukhovs, Rostovs, Bolkonskys et al could be part of your life for weeks – far less of a ‘challenge’ than actually reading the book.
Karen Robinson, The Sunday Times
This reviewer derives a special pleasure listening to a good book that he’s already read delivered by an excellent narrator. He can thus better appreciate values the performer extrapolates from the text. Such is the case with Neville Jason’s mature rendering of Tolstoy’s massive classic – 25 CDs to Volume 1 alone – of the Napoleonic Wars in Russia. His efforts are abetted by an excellent, uncredited translation. Once you get used to Russians with British accents, he gives you a fresh and consistently insightful interpretation of the action, atmospheres, numberless characters, and author’s apostrophes. Only his very young women ring a bit false. An accompanying booklet, intended to help the listener keep characters and events straight, is unnecessary, thanks to Jason’s skill.