Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina - Mona Simpson, Leonard J. Kent, Nina Berberova, Constance Garnett, Leo Tolstoy

Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is Tolstoy's classic tale of love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A rich and complex masterpiece, the novel charts the disastrous course of a love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer. Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together the lives of dozens of characters, and in doing so captures a breathtaking tapestry of late-nineteenth-century Russian society. As Matthew Arnold wrote in his celebrated essay on Tolstoy, "We are not to takeAnna Karenina as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of life." [ synopsis from goodreads ]




Well that only took me a year.

So let me start off by saying I loved this book. I really, really loved it. I enjoyed reading it. It was just a really busy year. But it was a fun year with hundred page increments of this thrown in. I probably could've finished this faster if I hadn't been so busy all the time. And I do plan to reread it some day when I do have more time.

But for now, I'll just say that I loved it. And I'm glad I read it. And honestly I see why it's a classic. And why it's a book that everyone should read at some point in their life. Because that is exactly how I feel about it. This is a book everyone should read. It teaches you a lot about love and about life. And there are some lines that will honestly haunt me forever. ("Love? Can he love? If he hadn't heard there was such a thing as love, he would never have used the word. He doesn't even know what love is.")

Anyway, now I'll tell you about all my favorite characters and what made me love this book and all that jazz. So Levin. Let's talk about Levin. That man is AMAZING. He was by far my favorite male in this book (I would say favorite character but he is literally tied with Anna. Those two, man. I loved them so.) and I enjoyed his arc so, so much. I found him so, so interesting. And I loved that this novel ended with him. And his speech at the end is probably one of my favorites of all time.

And Anna. I loved Anna. I found her to be probably the most interesting. [And it was probably a true testament to how much I loved her that I almost completely lost interest when she died. I loved the Levin resolution but everything else in that last section didn't really seem relevant?? I mean, I wanted to know about Vronsky and what happened to him. And Dolly, of course. But it just felt too long for some reason? Probably because nothing was from Anna's pov and I really missed that??]

Anyway, I've heard a lot that this novel feels like it's too long and there are some things that weren't really relevant to the story that could've been left out. Aside from bits of the last section, I didn't really feel that?? I honestly enjoyed this book so much and wanted more. (Though mostly more time with Anna.)

But what I loved most about this was learning about the culture. I have read very few novels set in Russia and this was the first one from this time period. So I ate up the history like my cat attacks a bowl of treats. (And also texted Kara a lot when I was totally lost in Russian history, haha.)

Okay so this is probably getting long and babbly but basically I loved this book. I would read it again. I would recommend it to everyone. I'm not saying you have to love it forever and read it every year. I'm just saying try it once. For science. For culture. For Anna.

And if, like me, you happen to fall in love with it. Maybe then you'll consider the yearly revisit.

Or maybe not? Whatever, dude. It's your reading life. I'm just giving you options. Do what you want. (*sticks hand next to mouth and whispers* But serious. Read this book.)


review originally posted on goodreads