Maggie Gyllenhaal Narrates 'Anna Karenina' Audiobook — Listen To An Excerpt!

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One of my favorite actresses is ~living the dream.~ In Audible's new edition of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel, Maggie Gyllenhaal reads Anna Karenina , one of her all-time favorite books.

Set in 19th century Russia, Anna Karenina is a romance, inside a political epic, inside a romance. Like many Russian novels of the day, Tolstoy's tome is incredibly complex. Although the names in Anna Karenina might not be as confusing as those in Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago , it can still be difficult to keep Tolstoy's characters straight, what with their given names, patronyms, and nicknames all running about.

Gyllenhaal tells The Seattle Times that reading her favorite book aloud for Audible was not as easy as she expected. "A sentence will begin in one place and end really somewhere else," she says. "I couldn’t cold read it. It just wasn’t possible." The planned 60-hour reading project doubled in length, but Gyllenhaal pulled through.

If you hate it when actors adopt fake accents, don't worry. Gyllenhaal didn't attempt to sound Russian for any part of her narration. She insists that her "skill really is not doing voices," but rather "finding a deep kind of empathy for whomever I’m playing — everything from their point of view."

Maggie Gyllenhaal's reading of Anna Karenina is available Tuesday on Audible.

Images: Courtesy of Audible