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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (746 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Irina Reyn Narrator: Karen White Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9781400178247
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Vivacious thirty-seven-year-old Anna K. is comfortably married to Alex, an older, prominent businessman from her tight-knit Russian-Jewish immigrant community in Queens. But a longing for freedom is reignited in this bookish, overly romantic, and imperious woman when she meets her cousin Katia Zavurov’s boyfriend, an outsider and aspiring young writer on whom she pins her hopes for escape. As they begin a reckless affair, Anna enters into a tailspin that alienates her from her husband, family, and entire world.

In nearby Rego Park’s Bukharian-Jewish community, twenty-seven-year-old pharmacist Lev Gavrilov harbors two secret passions: French movies and the lovely Katia. Lev’s restless longing to test the boundaries of his sheltered life powerfully collides with Anna’s. But will Lev’s quest result in life’s affirmation rather than its destruction?

Exploring struggles of identity, fidelity, and community, What Happened to Anna K. is a remarkable retelling of the Anna Karenina story brought vividly to life by an exciting young writer.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An exquisite contemporary love story…a ‘Moscow on the East River’ that explores issues of love and capitulation that transcend its particular ethnic milieu.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “With all the finery of a Gucci handbag and a perfectly fitted mink coat, Reyn captures and reveals the intricately layered culture of sausage immigrants.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Reyn’s sparkling insight into the Russian and Bukharan Jewish communities, and the mesmerizing intensity of her prose, make this debut a worthy remake.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “White has a cool, pleasant tone that helps calm the over-the-top emotions of the story, and she reads crisply, moving the story along.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jegdsw | 2/9/2014

    " An interesting book- liked it- not the best "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheri | 2/3/2014

    " Didn't love it. It was very difficult to relate to or have any sympathy for the main character, Anna K. And those that have read Anna Karenina, the Tolstoy novel that inspired this book, you know how it ends! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 2/2/2014

    " The best thing about this book is that it makes me want to re-read Anna Karenina. The insights on aging and the immigrant experience make this book worth reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 1/24/2014

    " This retelling of Anna Karenina among the Russian immigrant community in contemporary NYC didn't really grab me. The Russian immigrant community seemed very shallow, and Anna K didn't manage to rise above it. It did incline me to re-read Anna Karenina. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 1/21/2014

    " A modern reworking of Anna Karenina, taking place in the Bukharian Jewish community in Queens. An interesting idea and a good execution. I thought Irina Reyn accurately portrayed the immigrant experience and made me connect to her characters. I'm not sure whether actual comparisons to Tolstoy's original are appropriate here as the two books are vastly different in scope, time and place. Both have their special merits. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley | 1/13/2014

    " The classic story reimagined in the insular world of Bukharian Jewish immigrants in Queens. Anna, Lev and Katia (standing in for Levin and Kitty) struggle with their conflicting identities as Russians, Jews, and would-be Americans:tragedy arises from their failure to distinguish their true natures from their fantasies. Poignant, beautifully written,with flashes of wry humor: the matchmaker hired by Lev's increasingly desperate parents coolly assesses his chances at Bukharian matrimony: "There is no need to think Ashkenazi just yet". "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kp | 1/11/2014

    " This book seemed trite and shallow to me. It reminded me of an exercise on the part of the author. The exercise was to try to write an updated version of the Anna Karenina story. It was wooden and uninteresting. It did follow the story of Anna Karenina, and it was somewhat interesting to piece back together that older story and see how it was updated to the modern world. But that was IT. It had none of the depth of the original book. I could barely finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maria | 1/9/2014

    " I think you had to have read Anna Karenina to make this a good book and I haven't. To me, the book was like one long extended nightmare. However, the writing in the book is superb. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/9/2014

    " Having not read its namesake, I really liked this book - Reyn has very smart things to say about modern women, and our sad comparison to less modern women... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel Sharf | 1/8/2014

    " Liked it because it reminded me of Anna Karenina and Irina Reyn did a good job at modernizing the story and moving it to a different environment. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathe | 12/15/2013

    " Became frustrated with the characters in this book. Let it go after approx. 150 pages. Did not care about characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 12/8/2013

    " Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for fiction. I just didn't care about the characters at all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barb | 11/16/2013

    " Not my favorite. Never read Anna Karenna... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 11/11/2013

    " Not the best written book ever but an interesting read transplanting Anna Karenina into Russian Jewish immigrant circles in Queens and its environs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristy | 10/16/2013

    " Decent enough book. The main character isn't terribly likeable. Interesting tidbits about the Russian-American culture. Led to a good bookclub discussion. The best part of the book is comparing it to the original and speculating about the author's intent. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Arlene | 9/24/2013

    " Really did not care what happened to this Anna K. Would not bother reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joanne Edwards | 5/26/2013

    " The original Anna was truly a tragic figure -- this one is not. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 2/22/2013

    " What I learned from this book: the original Anna Karenina is very Russian and very depressing. the remade Anna Karenina is obsessed with youth, very confused about her Russian-American status, and a train wreck. Not a lot of redeeming qualities here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 2/8/2013

    " A modern version of Anna Karenina that is set in New York City... A quick and entertaining read that examines Russian-American family expectations and relationships. Interesting plot twists and the ending was certainly a surprise - maybe I will read the original novel... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becca | 10/29/2012

    " I think this book would have been a lot more meaningful if I'd actually read Anna Karenina already. But as it was, it was a very interesting story, well written and entertaining. And it made me want to read the original even more than I wanted to before! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 6/14/2012

    " modern day Anna Karenina. Read it in a day (much shorter and easier to understand, ayo!) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 4/22/2012

    " Modern version of Anna Karenina. Russian immigrant girl has a downward spiral. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Agnieszka | 10/5/2011

    " Nice idea, but the characters were rather poorly developed and the book seemed to drag on, despite being short. Perhaps I had high expectations after reading the real Anna Karenina... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 9/30/2011

    " Anna Karennena put into today's Queens neighborhoods of Russian immigrants. Excellent! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kirsten | 6/27/2011

    " An interesting to idea to retell the story in a contemporary New York setting. Knowing the original makes the tragic tale unfold predictably, yet the new takes on familiar characters were very well done. It was different to listen to this on CD, with all of the appropriate accents. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lily | 4/8/2011

    " Modern day Anna Karenina in Brooklyn? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debby | 1/12/2011

    " A modern take on an old theme. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 10/15/2010

    " Unusual.......and a spin off of Tolystoy's famous book.....Anna Karenina. Definitely a good change of pace from my others. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 10/12/2010

    " This retelling of Anna Karenina among the Russian immigrant community in contemporary NYC didn't really grab me. The Russian immigrant community seemed very shallow, and Anna K didn't manage to rise above it. It did incline me to re-read Anna Karenina. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathie | 9/15/2010

    " Interesting take on Anna Karenina. I found it good reading, and the characters authentic. Just not a great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tanya | 7/28/2010

    " I read this book right after reading Anna Karenina, and it just couldn't compare. I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read it so close to Tolstoy's masterpiece. Then again, may be not. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nonie | 7/6/2010

    " I fondly remember reading Tolstoy's Anna Karina years ago & found this story of Russian Jewish immigrants in NYC a neat parody of the original. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 6/15/2010

    " Interesting modern adaptation of Tolstoy's classic. The Russian soul behind the story tends to get a bit overly dramatic and self-conscious at times, but that probably goes with the territory. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tracy | 6/11/2010

    " Ok. I admit it. I've never read Anna Karenina. But I thought this modern retelling might be interesting. It mostly wasn't, although I enjoyed the details about the russian immigrants' lives. Otherwise, it was a rather humdrum little tragedy with an unlikeable heroine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann Marie | 5/20/2010

    " This was well written - she really gives you a clear, unflinching view of the anguish people experience when they marry for the wrong reasons or when their expectations meet reality. While there are some positive elements, overall not a happy read, I have to say. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Ellen | 5/18/2010

    " – A modern version of Ann Karenina, same tragic ending – tells of the Russian immigrant experience. I really enjoyed this book - well written and an easy read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 5/9/2010

    " Modern version of Anna Karenina. Russian immigrant girl has a downward spiral. "

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About the Author
IRINA REYN is the author of What Happened to Anna K: A Novel. She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh and has reviewed books for L.A. Times, Publishers Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hartford Courant, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Forward, and other publications. She was formerly the Books Editor for the online magazine, Killing the Buddha.
About the Narrator

Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording audiobooks since 1999. An Audie Award finalist, she has earned eight AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her reading of The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2009.