"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." So begins Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy's great modern novel of an adulterous affair set against the backdrop of Moscow and St. Petersburg high society in the later half of the nineteenth century. A sophisticated woman... show more
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." So begins Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy's great modern novel of an adulterous affair set against the backdrop of Moscow and St. Petersburg high society in the later half of the nineteenth century. A sophisticated woman who is respectably married to a government bureaucrat, Anna begins a passionate, all-consuming involvement with a rich army officer. Refusing to conduct a discreet affair, she scandalizes society by abandoning both her husband and her young son for Count Vronsky--with tragic consequences. Running parallel is the story of the courtship and marriage of Konstantin Levin (the melancholy nobleman who is Tolstoy's stand-in) and Princess Kitty Shcherbatsky. Levin's spiritual searching and growth reflect the religious ideals that at the time Tolstoy was evolving for himself. Taken together, the two plots embroider a vast canvas that ultimately encompasses all levels of Russian society. "Now and then Tolstoy's novel writes its own self, is produced by its matter, but its subject," noted Vladimir Nabokov. "Anna Karenina is one of the greatest love stories in world literature." As Matthew Arnold wrote in his celebrated essay on Tolstoy: "We are not to take Anna Karenina as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of life."
Publish date: January 1st 1997
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
Pages no: 736
Edition language: English
(Original Review, 1981-02-24)If you're not familiar with the The Orthodox Church's intricacies, don't bother reading the novel. It might also to understand the social context in which Anna Karenina is set, which Tolstoy doesn't explain because he was writing for fellow members of the Orthodox Church...
The foremost impression I'm left with, since I have the last part very present, is this literary symmetry: Anna takes about sixty pages to come in, by train, and leaves the book sixty pages from the end, also by train (yes, I know, some dark humor).Next, also with the end very present, this sense th...
wow! how do one review Ana Karenjina! The best of the best! No words to describe! Read it in Russian. Or it is worth learning Russian so one is able to read Russian classics in their native tongue. Ahead of his time Tolstoy is a guru and a revolutionist and a wise man all at the same time. Did you k...
Phew! Got it done. Interesting book at time. Just amazing to see how people from this time would love to just read all the silly musings of the upper class. I did like when Anna began to go a little crazy and finally commit suicide. Needy much? Liked Levin's questioning of faith.
The number of times I've written this review, erased it, and completely rewrote it again from a different standpoint speaks volumes of the conflicting nature of ANNA KARENINA itself. Is it a trashy melodrama that wouldn’t be out of place on daytime television? An insightful glimpse into the economy ...