Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

A Novel in Eight Parts

Book - 2003
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Now the subject of a major new film adaptation from director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice), Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is translated by award-winning duo Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky in Penguin Classics. Starring Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method) as Anna Karenina, Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) as her husband Alexei, Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy) as Count Vronsky, and also starring Matthew McFadyen, Andrea Riseborough and Kelly Macdonald, this dazzling production of Anna Karenina is adapted for the screen by legendary playwright Tom Stoppard. Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike, and soon brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Konstantin Levin, a man striving to find contentment and meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself. Acclaimed as the definitive English version of Tolstoy's masterpiece, this edition contains an introduction by Richard Pevear and a preface by John Bayley. Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) spent his youth in wasteful idleness until 1851, when he travelled to the Caucasus and joined the army, fighting in the Crimean war. After marrying in 1862, Tolstoy settled down, managing his estates and writing two of his best-known novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878). A Confession (1879-82) marked a spiritual crisis in his life, and in 1901 he was excommunicated by the Russian Holy Synod. 'William Faulkner, it's said, was once asked to name the three best novels ever. He replied: "Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina." If you don't recall why, rush to buy a fine new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
Publisher: London : Penguin, 2003.
ISBN: 9780140449174
Characteristics: xxv, 837 p. ;,20 cm.
Alternative Title: Anna Karenina

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gomiami1972
Jul 17, 2018

Wow. Anna Karenina is very well written, the characters are true to themselves, you get keen insight into what Russian upper class society was like in the 1870s, an interesting and essentially believable plot and (everybody's favorite Tolstoy habit) 800+ pages of it to digest.

All of the above are compliments. Tolstoy was a genius and it was is in full force in this book. The main criticism I would bring to light is that, while beautifully written, the book never compelled me to finish it. I would read a section and then would sometimes let it lie for a week untouched. Every great book pulls you into the story and you must know how it ends. With Anna Karenina, I came and went as I pleased.

For the second straight Tolstoy book (War and Peace being the other,) I found myself liking the main characters the least. In W&P, I couldn't stand Pierre. Here, I found both Levin and Anna unpleasant. That I wanted to finish the book is a testament to its quality. While I don't favor the idea that Anna Karenina is the best novel ever written, it is well worth the time investment

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FoxLarkin
Jun 07, 2018

This was my 4th reading of AK: Many aspects of the book resonated with me in ways that didn't occur on previous readings: that being said, I was furious with the ending. AK's suicide was not acknowledged in any significant way by any of the other main characters. Instead, it focused on Levin's philosophical musings about the meaning of suffering and faith.

"Koznyshev, experienced in dialectics, made no reply to Levin's question, but at once switched over the conversation to another aspect of the subject." If you are doing a term paper on the relative greatnesses of French and Russian authors, you could do worse than to compare/contrast Anna and Emma.

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dollface_1
Aug 06, 2017

I waited until now (retirement) to read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina...on my reading bucket list.

My first Tolstoy, and definitely my last. I'm looking forward to everything else on my list, and glad this one is....so to speak...in the books. Torture.

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Janice21383
Apr 05, 2016

Poor Anna. It is perilous to be neither good nor useful. It's not like AK is an unknown story, so just a few observations that surprised me: compared to the film versions, Vronsky is egotistical and empty-headed, but improves as the story goes on; Anna is a selfish pill a lot of the time, and is much like her sensual brother, without his easygoing nature. Tolstoy notices the hypocrisy of the toleration of male adultery versus the female kind, without completely disapproving of it. He contrasts Anna and Vronsky with another young couple, Levin and Kitty: charming, well-meaning, and a little wearisome. If you're pressed for time, you can skim the parts about their souls, or farming, without missing much. Tolstoy wants to be Levin, but he really is Anna. Anyone beginning AK should note that it is NOT primarily about anyone's romance, but about Russia's floundering transition into a modern, European nation, and why people like Tolstoy thought this was not a good idea.

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lnikolai22
Sep 29, 2015

This took quite a while to read, but it was worth it... Anna herself was, maybe somewhat ironically, my least favourite character in the book. Luckily, she isn't really the main character, or at least she isn't the only main character. (Konstantin Levin is the character who, I think, most redeems Anna's moral indecency.) Still, this book was one of the best I've read in the past year, and most unexpectedly so.

Kereesa Jul 22, 2015

This was my first Tolstoy novel. It will not be the last.

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stepha89
Jun 09, 2014

The relationships the book developed were a highlight. However, it dragged in many places, especially in the parts that dealt with the Russian peasantry and agriculture. If you like a slow pace and a lot of character introspection, you'll probably have better luck than I did.

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anahperic
May 05, 2014

I loved this book

patienceandfortitude Jan 13, 2014

I first read Anna Karenina over 30 years ago, and am so glad that I have taken the time to re-read it. I love Tolstoy. His writing speaks to my heart. His characters are deeply sympathetic, in their struggles to find love, happiness, justice and meaning in their lives. Perfect way to start my reading in the new year.

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gomiami1972
Jul 18, 2018

Anna “clearly understood that he was disgusted by her hand, and her gesture, and the sound her lips made.”

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geraldine9
Aug 26, 2016

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

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gomiami1972
Jul 18, 2018

gomiami1972 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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ecarr1212
Jul 21, 2016

ecarr1212 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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