Thursday, January 3, 2013

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Publisher : Penguin Classics

Pages :  817

Rating: 4/5

Anna Karenina has beauty, social position, wealth, a husband, and an adored son, but her existence seems empty.  When she meets the dashing officer Count Vronsky she rejects her marriage and turns to him to fulfill her passionate nature - with devastating results. One of the world's greatest novels, Anna Karenina is both an immortal drama of personal conflict and social scandal and a vivid, richly textured panorama of nineteenth-century Russia.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first Tolstoy novel I’ve read; it’s not even the longest.  Granted I didn’t read either of them by choice but what does that matter?  I read them thoroughly, unlike some of my classmates…anyways; Anna Karenina was a good read.  It is a grand romance and, like most classics, leaves you overwhelmed because of life.

Unlike the title may suggest, only half of the story is centered upon the adultery and love between Anna and Vronsky.  The other half is the storybook romance between country boy Konstantin Levin and city girl Kitty Alexandrovna.  This romance is ADORABLE!!! There are a few moments when I’m sure I “Ahhhh”ed out-loud.  They’re basically a YA romance in a classic. 

Anna was a very annoying character.  That’s kind of the whole point of the narrative but the fact that I thought her every action was stupid did not help me finish this book.  Anna, and Levin, has a tendency to think too much basically.  While I think this is a common problem, hell I have it, it leads to a slow moving story.  They both are halted in doing what they want by how that action would look to the outside world.   However the whole story shows the reader another perspective and leads you to question.  For example, should you mold yourself to society’s norms or do what you truly want, what’s the difference between your perceived reality and the real one, and so on.  It’s truly a thought provoking book.

Tolstoy, unlike say Nathaniel Hawthorn, is an easy classic to read.  His writing style isn’t too different from the modern he just likes to write down every thought in a character’s head which leads to these epic size yarns.  However, if you want to read something to impress others I can’t suggest a better book than one by Tolstoy.  I mean how awesome is it to say you've read Anna Karenina?!

OH! I saw the new Anna Karenina movie with Jude Law and Keira Knightly and thought it was ridiculous, not in the good way.  I didn’t like it.  It just wasn’t the book. I know, everyone whose read any book turned movie says that but hey, it’s true.  But if you liked the movie you’ll like the book.  The story is the same but with TONS more Levin and Kitty and more of view inside the minds of the characters.

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