Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Kareninaprovides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.
Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay. –goodreads.com
What I Liked
I liked that the story followed not just one person or one couple, but a mixture of couples who were connected, but dealt internally with different worries and moral issues. I felt that even though this was written so long ago, a lot of the ways these characters felt were relatable. I can see who people still talk and discuss this novel and it has held up to the test at time.
Also, this translation of Anna Karenina was done wonderfully. It kept the air of being a classic and used a lot of words that remind me of the time period, but they made it readable. I was not reading at a very slow pace, but it was not fully modern. They found a great balance.
What I Didn’t Like
At times I felt that I would have rather have read this story individually instead of intertwined, but it in no way ruined the story for me. I would say going over the spark notes and getting a list of of names (DO NOT READ THE DESCRIPTION OF THE CHARACTERS THERE BECAUSE OF SPOILERS) because having a running list is helpful because they sometimes use their proper names and then nicknames that seem to have no relation in english, they might in the texts original language of Russian.
Overall I felt that this was a very wonderful book and it was very thought provoking. If you are interested in a soap opera type of book with deceit , betrayal, and scorned individuals this is a book for you. This is a wonderful and timeless novel, that is a commitment. I am very glad that I finally read this novel.
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Publication Date: January 5th 2017, originally published in 1878
List Price: $18.95
Pages: 963 pages