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Well, I can finally say that I have read something by Tolstoy. This is truly a work of excellence full of richly-developed characters. Even the shallow characters are deep. The Russian names are confusing at first until you get used to it. The story is compelling and thought provoking addressing the question of the meaning of life to which we all want the answer. Feel free to email with any quesitons. ~LeAnn
This was awesome, the best translations of Anna Karenina that I have ever read. If you have never read Anna Karenina and are a tad bit interested this is the translation for you. Very clear and precise.
This is a classic novel. It was a very hard read. It had footnotes of the interpretation into English. This is a great classic novel and very interesting, but be prepared to spend time reading this one
It's a really engaging read, a classic. Not only do you remember the characters for years to come, but you see a tragedy unfold and can use it as a cautionary tale for avoiding disasters in your own life (not necessarily with adultery, but with any mistakes that have potentially far-reaching consequences).
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina startled the world with its powerful portrayal of the human need for love and happiness weighed against the rigid demands of society. Its heroine, the sensual, rebellious Anna, renounces a respectable yet stifling marriage for an extramarital affair that offers a tast of passion even as it ensnares her in a trap for destruction. Her story contrasts with that of Levin, a young self-doubting agnostic who takes a different path to fulfillment and finds faith and marital bliss in an age of repression.
Considered the greatest novel of the nineteenth century, Anna Karenina has been called Tolstoy's spiritual autobiography. Anna and Levin personify his lifelong struggle to reconcile his physical desires and intellectual ideals in order to lead a more meaningful existence. His program for abstinence and nonviolence, based on a personal interpretation of the Gospels, made him one of the world's most venerated teachers.
This is a magnificent & beautiful book. A supreme work of art, it nourishes the heart... how I love Anna! how I have grown to love both of her Alexeys: Mr. Karenin & Count Vronsky! I'm frightened and saddened at the prospect that dear Anna cannot but be crushed by society for her "crime" of unequivocally embracing the felt experience of her heart. Indeed, Anna is extraordinary to me for the same reason as Levin: for both the problems of life can be distilled into the simple yet staggering prospect of being honest with oneself; living each moment in complete congruence with the heart.
Tolstoy's great genius is his great impartiality towards feeling, hurting, longing, and dreaming humanity. These are not characters in a book. They are all real people. They live -- and die -- so that we may learn and thereby honour them by accepting nothing less than Christ's logion that "the Truth will set you Free"
Far more learned scholars than I could aspire to become have made it clear that Tolstoy's work, and this wonderful novel in particular, stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. They have pointed to his ability to take the reader into the minds of his characters, to experience not only their words and their thoughts but their very souls and in this manner allow us to see ourselves and our interactions with our fellow beings. For example I found, very late in the book, one passage which nicely sums up for me much of the interaction between characters in this novel. A major character has just had yet another argument with her lover and is reviewing the row, thinking of things he might have said to her. "All the most cruel words that a brutal man could say, he said to her in her imagination, and she could not forgive him for them, as though he had actually said them." While Tolstoy obviously wrote of what he knew, the Russian aristocracy of the 1800s, the tale remains as current and as appropriate as though it were written about ordinary blue-collar folk of Des Moines or Detroit in the 21st century. This is the true 'genius' of Tolstoy, in my view, that whatever the setting, whatever the time he manages to touch on those elements within us that are universal and timeless. To be sure Oscar Wilde sends up the idle rich smartly and satirically and with fewer words but he must needs narrow his focus to do so, leaving behind the fullness of the society in which those folks operate. Tolstoy by contrast gives us the whole. He also manages to clothe his characters without resorting to Neiman-Marcus advertising copy--one of my pet peeves with modern writers. A word of caution if I may. Finding a copy of this great novel presented just 'bare', without those ever-so-scholarly extras like an introduction, footnotes/endnotes, and so forth is next to impossible these days, so unless you're the kind of person who reads the last chapter first, or who watches a movie for the first time with the director's commentary overriding the audio, I recommend you avoid those extras until after you've enjoyed Tolstoy's own words, wallowed in the beauty of his prose. Problem is, you see, while these folks are on their way to impressing the reader with their scholarship they care not a wit about acting as spoilers for the darn good read Tolstoy created. Enjoy Anna Karenina to its fullest as Tolstoy intended, and then if you feel like being brought down off your high, read what the 'experts' think.
What a book. What a writer. Sure it was long, but I read every word. A fascinating mix of characters, some humble and hard working, productive people, others so superficial and useless they do nothing but seek their own pleasure and find people who will pay for that for them. The royal free loaders. Some characters improve with time and some unravel as the consequences of their social choices catch up with them. It is certainly a book about social rules and consequences. Those who are looked down on at first are elevated at the end. Many who were elevated in the beginning fall by the end of the book and some just continue elaborating the skill of self centeredness and irresponsibility that is their chosen path.
This book provides a most excellent translation of this classic 19th C. tale chronicling the affair of a married Russian socialite and an affluent military officer. Shunned from high society when the affair is found out, Anna becomes increasingly isolated and suspicious that her lover has committed infidelities against her. She ultimately commits suicide by train when consumed by her own conflicting feelings. Thus, Anna's pain allows Tolstoy to explore the themes of hypocrisy, jealousy, faith, fidelity, family, marriage, society, progress, carnal desire and passion, notably juxtaposed against the experiences of several other couples as the story unfolds. Tolstoy also explores aspects of Russian life associated with the country [agrarian connection to land] in contrast to the lifestyles typical of the city. An excellent read!