Thursday, July 11, 2013

Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy
Published: Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition, 2001
Pages: 838

Anna Karenina lives a nice life with her husband and son, but when she goes to visit his brother and his wife she meets a man that turns her life upside down.  When her love affair with Count Vronsky begins she has to start making decisions. Will she leave her husband and her son?And how will she face society with a ruined social presence?  What Anna decides will change her life forever, whether for better or worse she does not know.

It took me way longer than I expected to finish this and for no other reason that it is just very long.  Because of the length, the pacing was not consistent.  I found myself unable to focus at times, I mean there's only so many pages I can read about lawn mowing.

The story, however, is captivating and haunting.  Tolstoy's writing is eloquent and simple.  There is beauty in his sentences and depth in his meanings.  He writes with purpose; there is plan for every detail he has written, whether it is character development or to show contrast in characters.  I very much admire the way Tolstoy writes.

Leo Tolstoy has a way of expressing emotion that is unlike anything that I've ever read.  At the beginning of the book, Stepan Oblonsky's guilt is so accurately described, it felt completely authentic.  Only someone who has felt this extreme sense of guilt could explain it so perfectly.  Throughout the entire novel, we get to see how characters think and how they justify their actions or misconstrue other people's intentions.  It really shows the dysfunction of people, but more specifically families.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, I won't be diving into anymore Tolstoy for a while.  I need something a little less dense in my life right now.

Stars: 3/5


"Peaver and Volokhonsky are at once scrupulous translators and vivid stylists of English, and their superb rendering allows us, as perhaps never before, to grasp the palpability of Tolstoy's 'characters, acts, situations."
      --James Wood, The New Yorker

"In their version, Anna Karenina becomes a surprising rediscovery... Pevear and Volokhonsky may truly be said to be the reinventors of the classic Russian novel for our times."
     --PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize Citation

This is an Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge book!

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