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Book Reviews of Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina
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ISBN-13: 9780143035008
ISBN-10: 0143035002
Publication Date: 5/2004
Pages: 838
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 268 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

60 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Anna Karenina on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
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
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 257 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
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.

reviewed Anna Karenina on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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).
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I read War and Peace (okay, I listened to it tape) because my teens were reading it for their bookclub. I got so caught up in the characters, it was a great story. I went right on to Anna Kanenina and loved it also. Why do we let ourselves be intimidated by these huge dusty classics? I was sorry when it ended because I had spent so much time with the characters.
reviewed Anna Karenina on
Helpful Score: 2
This is a very complex tale. Many lives are interwoven through love, marriage, and infidelity. Thus resulting in the alteration of love to jealousy, hate, revenge and ultimately suicide. The characters are well explained, deep of character and personality.
A sad tale but a beautiful tale as it is so eloquently written.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I lead an Evening Book Club and we chose Anna Karenina as a classic to read. We all enjoyed the multiple characters developed by Tolstoy and noticed the similarity between the character Levin and Tolstoy himself. I would recommend this book even though it is long (Tolstoy could have cut 100-200 pages!!!) Our group enjoyed the discussions around the characters, and discussed wheter we liked or disliked. We spent time talking about Tolstoy's life and times and his bohemian lifestyle. We could not agree whether Tolstoy liked Annan or not. If you are interested in classics and a range of authors this is a must read
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great story and very well written. This book is very profound and makes you examine your beliefs. Wonderful!
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I'm glad I read this, but it is long and is bit overwrought. This is a really good translation.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a gripping story in a beautiful new translation.
chelly10s avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Tolstoy was a genius. It's absolutely amazing how he was able to write from the point of view of so many different characters--including a dog at one point!

His characters are concerned with a lot of problems in society that still seem relevant today. They grapple with how to right them or overcome them, which makes for very thought provoking reading. He also seems to thoroughly understand passion, familial love, integrity, shame, and many complicated human emotions that make the characters in this book some of the most relatable of any book I've read.

It takes a long time to read, but don't be discouraged. The journey is well worth it.
animlgrl avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Though hard to read because of all the Russian names and characters, it is an excellent story, and was glad that I read it. The size of the book is a bit daunting at first, but was so glad that I'd read it. Story of a married woman and her affair with another man in 19th century Russia.
Trinity7202 avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
At first I was struck by the way Tolstoy referred to the characters in the book, he would alternate between their formal names, their less formal names then finally their affectionate nicnames. Almost without realizing it, he is changing the way you view that character and the situation they are in just by the name he calls them by. I liked that a lot.
I found my opinion of the female characters vacillating between like, love, disgust, empathy. In all of them I was able to identify myself in some of their behavior and feelings. Of course, no one really likes a mirror showing them their true selves so I struggled with that aspect of the story. The book itself was wonderfully written and I enjoyed all of it. I know that some people complained of the sections about husbandry and the politics but both interested me a great deal and I think gave a much more rounded picture of life and the struggles they faced in Russia at that time. His discriptions werent overly flowery but just perfect enough for you to shape pictures in your mind. Ill have to re-read it another time to get a full picture of the book, there is so many events and people to digest that I think it is impossible to get it all in one reading.
amber1111 avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on
Helpful Score: 1
I know this is a classic and many people love this book, but I found it extremely boring and way too long. Tolstoy goes into so much detail and the language does not flow very well since it was not originally written in English, that it makes it a very difficult read. I made it about half way through before giving up and just skimming the remainder of the story to see what happens. I'm not usually one to give up on a book, but this one deserved it.
simplicity avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I like to read classic literature, but I didn't care for this book. It is not the best choice if you are looking for leisure reading. With all due respect to Tolstoy, it tends to drag on and on. There are long chapters on farming and political issues. The novel is philosophical and cultural, which makes it deserving to be a classic, but I'm suprised about all the hype from Oprah and her book club. I don't believe that Oprah took the time to read this from cover to cover. If she did, it was probably her bed-time reading. Overall, I'm proud of myself for getting through it, because it was challenging to read.
shukween avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I've been on a kick to read classics I missed in school, and this one does not disappoint. Sometimes tough given the translation and lack of understanding of upper-class Russian customs of the era, it still remains a fantastic study of human nature and basic human needs. Well worth the long time to read.
NaimiSamad avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book had been on my "to be read" list for a long time. There are a lot of characters and my book actually came with a guide, there were so many! That was helpful, but I found entire sections of the book incredibly boring. I finished the book to simply say I had read it, but near the end I couldn't wait to put it down finally.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book!
laceylosh avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Like many people who begin reading Anna Karenina, I was intimidated by the size of the novel. As Im a slow reader, I took it at my own pace. Its 900+ pages took me just under 2 months to read.

Now that the story is over, I miss my window into Tolstoys world. I loved the array of characters in this novel and while I found that I identified with certain characters more than others, I think theres something for everyone in one story line or another. I did find that there were parts of the novel that bored me, such as Levins confusion at the election process and the hunting trip that took place in the later part of the book. However, I was captivated by Levins struggle to find meaning in life and his consideration of what it means to have morals without religion.

I enjoyed getting into Annas head, but also appreciated understanding the feelings of her husband as well as her lover. Tolstoys ability to write from different perspectives and opposing points of view, male and female, was my favorite aspect of the book.

Oblonsky was, without question, my favorite character. You meet him right away, and though hes not always a key player in the novel, Anna and Levins lives always intertwined with Oblonsky just enough to leave me wanting more. His character is larger than life, and one I will keep with me as a literary favorite.
confuzzledbooks avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 482 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is titled Anna Karenina but Anna is not the only main character. Levin a young man trying hard to be successful at work and to marry his sweetheart. Anna on the other hand is married and also has a sweetheart on the side. Annas story is probably the one that dominates the book. Anna wants freedom from her husband to go off with her lover. Of course her husband is anything but happy when she tells him this.

I was more a fan of the character Levin. Although I did have trouble in his interest in farm work. I did however love the idea of Kitty and Levin as a couple even though there is struggle to get there. Levin as understand it may also be representing the author Leo Tolstoy.

Most of the characters in this book are unlikable (Anna, Vronsky, Annas husband, and Annas brother). What I found made Anna more unlikable was I saw her weakness in myself. That made me dislike her more. I wanted her to gain a little backbone and stop whining.

The book as a whole did not get interesting until exactly half way through it. And that was when Levin became more of a focus. This was a hell of a book to get through. This is definitely not one I am going to reread.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Beautifully written and engaging the whole way through. I was surprised by how quick a read it was despite the rather daunting number of pages.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 30 more book reviews
Hasn't everyone read this masterpiece at least once? If not, then you must.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 212 more book reviews
A little over two and a half years after starting Anna Karenina, I finally finished it, and I consider this to be a huge accomplishment. This is definitely a large novel, but the cause of my delay is really due to the dense nature of whats in this tome. Like all classics, there are a lot of extra details in here that you wouldnt see on a modern novel. But unlike so many of those, I found the details to mostly be engaging, although I do get tired of the endless talk of lawmaking and farming theories.

To read the rest of my review, please visit:
23dollars avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 432 more book reviews
I read ANNA KARENINA for a TBR potluck activity in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

This translation is said to be the most accessible to date, and while it wasn't perfect (there are a few awkward sentences) I would agree!

The story starts off in a very engaging way. You're pulled right into a 19th century Russian family drama, involving adultery - a wandering husband, a heartbroken wife, and, or course, their young children. And as the story progresses, we meet the title character, Anna Karenina. However, we also meet another principle character in Konstantin Levin.

For me, the narrative had peaks and valleys. It was two-fold. There were eye-glazing indulgences in the political, agricultural, economical and religious issues of the day; contrasted by what I can easily classify as a glorified Russian soap opera!

Let's just say that you have to be patient with this story, it's not in a hurry...but when things happen, boy, do they happen! At times my eyes were on sticks with some of the characters' actions, I could hardly believe it!

It's a book I enjoyed for the most part, and I'm very glad to have finally read. I can understand and appreciate why it's endured so well over the years. Anna Karenina may not have been a woman who deserved to be the focal point of an entire book, but the story is about so much more than her capricious emotional whims. It explored several characters in great depth, and focused on contrasting the relationships; I enjoyed the various interrelationship quirks among the players: Levin, Kitty, Anna, Vronsky, Alexei, Seryozha we get into to their heads, and from there, we see the world.

Overall, I give ANNA KARENINA a B-.

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reviewed Anna Karenina on + 25 more book reviews
Don't be discouraged by the length of this book. This is a classic worth reading.
reviewed Anna Karenina on
Tough reading. Worth the effort.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 46 more book reviews
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!
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 51 more book reviews
LOVED this book. Tolstoy's style is one that will keep you riveted and emotionally connected to the characters throughout this tortuous love story.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 26 more book reviews
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 114 more book reviews
Recognized worldwide as a classic, Anna Karenina is a sweeping epic of love, war, and Russian history.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 40 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book, but was not overly impressed. I never craved to read it, if you know what I mean.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 90 more book reviews
Abbreviated version but the full story.
ProfDon avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 38 more book reviews
Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy

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.

Don LeCouteur
13 February 2012
abbykt avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 113 more book reviews
This book was depressing to me and I had the same feeling with it as when I read The Awakening. Infidelity does not equal happiness. I did not really feel that any of the characters were endearing and I wanted one of them to be happy. I have never understood how a mother can leave her children as Anna did. I do not think it would be possible for me.
ZenLady avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 9 more book reviews
A great classic. Everyone should read it at least once.
RaccoonGirl avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 97 more book reviews
A magnificent drama of vengeance, infidelity, and retribution, Anna Karenina portrays the moving story of people whose emotions conflict with the dominant social mores of their time. Sensual, rebellious Anna falls deeply and passionately in love with the handsome Count Vronsky. When she refuses to conduct the discreet affair that her cold, ambitious husband (and Russian high society) would condone, she is doomed. Set against the tragic love of Anna and Vronsky, the plight of the melancholy nobleman Konstantine Levin unfolds. In doubt about the meaning of life, haunted by thoughts of suicide, Levins struggles echo Tolstoys own spiritual crisis. But Annas inner turmoil mirrors the emotional imprisonment and mental disintegration of a woman who dares to transgress the strictures of a patriarchal world. In Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy brought to perfection the novel of social realism and created a masterpiece that bared the Russian soul.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 59 more book reviews
A great view of how our society works, very dark. I liked watching multiple stories unfolding all at once for a broad view of human nature. I feel like this story was full of warnings for me.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 6 more book reviews
One of the best books I have ever read.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 31 more book reviews
This is the timeless tale of deceit and betrayal. Not at all as highbrow as I once thought it was. Really enjoyed the twist and turns of the story. A real moral tale. Enjoy!
icalou avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on
A perfect Russian novel!
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 9 more book reviews
Tragic story.
misty54 avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 3 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 12 more book reviews
It's Anna Karenina - what can I say?
pibblegrl avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 64 more book reviews
It was long...and somewhat boring.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 275 more book reviews
A tragic love story set in 19th Century life in Russia.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 3 more book reviews
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"
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 13 more book reviews
long- 868 pages, but engaging and sometimes gripping. romantic and tragic.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 13 more book reviews
the philosophy between man vs. man
man vs. society
man vs. himself....a great book to do a report on.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 529 more book reviews
Anna Karenina, a Classic by Leo Tolstoy; book translated to English from Russian. Excellent reading!!
reviewed Anna Karenina on
a good love story
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 21 more book reviews
A classic! Glad I read it, although personally, it was a bit of a struggle to get through. No one writes quite like Tolstoy!
DaynaAlyson avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 31 more book reviews
My mother recommended this book as one of the best books she ever read. I guess you either love it or hate it because I thought it was not good at all. It's very slow and very long. I felt that many sections of the book could have been cut out to condense the story, which would have made it more interesting and readable. I guess Tolstoy is lucky I wasn't his editor.
reviewed Anna Karenina on
It was very long but interesting. The names were confusing to me. It is a classic. There are several similarities between Tolstoy's own life and the characters in the book.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 69 more book reviews
A heartbreaking story about a late nineteenth century woman in Russian High Society. Excellent book!
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 3 more book reviews
Wonderful book, very detailed. Took me two weeks, but still couldn't put it down (until my daughter needed me lol).
jeepers avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 35 more book reviews
The original soap opera! Good story with lots of twists and turns.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 32 more book reviews
A bit hard to get into, but picks up after the first few chapters. I really liked the story line, and am glad I pushed through and finished reading it.
reviewed Anna Karenina on + 2 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book very much. I like how you can relate to the characters. Their problems are like many peoples problems today, even though it was written over 100 years ago. I was surprised at the ending.
TakingTime avatar reviewed Anna Karenina on + 1072 more book reviews
I felt this was a really easy read for being a classic and a translated book.