War and Peace

Thandiwe Newton and I were probably the only people to use Lockdown to read Tolstoy’s epic novel ‘War and Peace’ – TWICE! Firstly to prepare it and then to record it, unabridged, for Audible UK. Due to her incredibly busy schedule it took us a year to find the 30 days we needed in studio to record the 1,500+ page book. Thandiwe worked in recording studios in both London and Los Angeles, and I directed her remotely online. The finished recording comes in at a hefty 61 hours, but the studio days flew by and we were both bereft when the project finally ended. It is an astonishing, wonderful book and we are both extremely proud of our version, and delighted to have our work recognised with a win at the 2023 Audie Awards.

Thandiwe says…

Oof – any of you peeps like an audio book? One of my proudest achievements as an actress, has just been released on @audible. Recorded over lockdown 2020-2021 in London and Los Angeles. With my amazing producer #TamsinCollison 🙏🏽 She’s a literary rockstar.

The book is #Tolstoys #WarandPeace.

The sections on war absolutely blew my mind, and are honestly essential listening to understand the grotesque horror of war from the perspective of the young soldier, particularly.

Over a century later And the relevance of Tolstoy’s perspective is ELECTRIFYING to experience right now, with the world in desperate turmoil. I honestly couldn’t recommend it more – whether to read or listen to my attempt.

70 hours Bitches! It’s so punk rock, man!!!

The Guardian Pick of the Week

11th December 2021

Thandie Newton rises to the challenge of voicing scores of squabbling aristocrats in a new, unabridged recording.

A determined reader can, it is said, power through Tolstoy’s mammoth tale of love and war in a week. But the audio version cannot be easily hurried, as narrators go at their own pace; that is, if you don’t cheat and crank up the speed. Clocking in at more than 60 hours in length, this rerecorded, unabridged version is not for the faint-hearted, but those able to put in the time will be rewarded.

War and Peace opens in St Petersburg in 1805 where there is handwringing in upper-class drawing rooms over the advance of Bonaparte. The narrator Thandiwe Newton rises to the challenge of voicing the scores of aristocrats who gossip and meddle in each other’s lives while bemoaning the state of Europe. Among the main players are Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who wants a slice of his father’s riches; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who goes off to fight in the war; and Natasha, the beautiful daughter of a nobleman, with whom both men are enamoured.