Spoiler alert If you have read this book, please proceed If you are never going to read this novel be honest with yourself , then please proceed If you may read this novel, but it may be decades in the future, then please proceed Trust me, you are not going to remember, no matter how compelling a review I have written If you need Tolstoy talking points for your next cocktail party or soiree with those literary, black wearing, pseudo intellectual friends of yours, then this review will come in handy If they pin you to the board like a bug over some major plot twist, that will be because I have not shared any of those If this happens, do not despair refer them to my review I ll take the heat for you If they don t know who I am, then they are, frankly, not worth knowing Exchange them for other enlightened intellectual friends He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realization of their desires Anna Arkadyevna Oblonsky married Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, a man twenty years her senior She dutifully produced a son for him and settled into a life of social events and extravagant clothes and enjoyed a freedom from financial worries Maybe this life would have continued for her if she had never met Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, but than likely, her midlife crisis, her awareness of the passage of time, would have compelled her to seek something They say he s a religious, moral, honest, intelligent man but they don t see what I ve seen They don t know how he has been stifling my life for eight years, stifling everything that was alive in me, but he never once even thought that I was a living woman who needed love They don t know how he insulted me at every step and remained pleased with himself Didn t I try as hard as I could to find a justification for my life Didn t I try to love him But the time has come, I ve realized that I can no longer deceive myself, that I am alive, that I am not to blame if God has made me so that I must love and live And what now If he killed me, if he killed him, I could bear it all, I could forgive it all, but no, he Her husband was enad with her, but then so was everyone who met her, male or female Maybe he was too contented with their life together and, therefore, took their relationship for granted He was two decades older, so the passions of romance didn t burn with as hot a flame She wanted passion from him even if it was to murder her lover and herself Even if it was something tragic, she wanted something to happen, something that would make her feel something I couldn t help thinking early on that the problem wasn t with her husband, certainly nothing that a new lover could fix for very long The same face was always going to greet her in the mirror The same thoughts were always going to swim their way back to the surface We can not mask the problems within ourselves by changing lovers The mask will eventually slip, and all will be revealed Ugly can be very pretty.Is there such a thing as being too beautiful Can being so beautiful make someone cold, disdainful, and unable to really feel empathy or even connected to those around them Her type of beauty is a shield that insulates her even as her insecurities swing the sword that stabs the hearts of those who despise her and those who love her She was enchanting in her simple black dress, enchanting were her full arms with the bracelets on them, enchanting her firm neck with its string of pearls, enchanting her curly hair in disarray, enchanting the graceful, light movements of her small feet and hands, enchanting that beautiful face in its animation but there was something terrible and cruel in her enchantment My favorite character in this epic was Konstantin Kostya Dmitrich Levin He was a well meaning, wealthy landowner who, unusually for the times, went out and worked the land himself He got his hands dirty enough that one could actually call him a farmer He was led to believe by his friends and even the Shcherbatsky family that their youngest daughter, Kitty, would be an affable match for him Kitty s older sister Dolly was married to Stepan Stiva Arkadyich Oblonsky, who was the brother to Anna Karenina Stiva was recently caught and forgiven for having a dalliance with a household staff, but no sooner was he out of that boiling water of that affair before he was having liaisons with a ballerina This did lead me to believe that life would never be satisfying for either Stiva or his sister Anna because there was always going to be pretty butterflies to chase as the attractiveness of the one they had began to fade Before Vronsky became gobsmacked by Anna, he was leisurely chasing after Kitty and leading her on just long enough for Kitty to turn Levin s marriage proposal down flat That was like catching a molotok hammer right between the eyes as a serp sickle swept Kostya off his feet Interestingly enough, later in the book Levin met Anna Karenina, after he has married Kitty you ll have to read the book to discover how this comes about , and he was captivated by Anna It was almost enough for me start chain smoking Turkish cigarettes or biting my nails down to the quick while I waited for the outcome Substitute Anna for Jolene, and you ll know what I was humming She had unconsciously done everything she could to arouse a feeling of love for her in Levin, and though she knew that she had succeeded in it, as far as one could with regard to an honest, married man in one evening, and though she liked him very much, as soon as he left the room, she stopped thinking about him If she was irritated with Vronsky, one day maybe she would just seduce Levin for entertainment because she could I must say that I didn t think much of Vronsky at the beginning of the novel, but as the plot progressed I started to sympathize with him Tolstoy was brilliant at rounding out characters so our preconceived notions or the projections of ourselves that we place upon them are forced to be modified as we discover about them Levin had his own problems He had been reading the great philosophers, looking for answers He found questions than answers in religion He abandoned every lifeboat he climbed into and swam for the next one Without knowing what I am and why I m here, it is impossible for me to live And I cannot know that, therefore I cannot live The problem that every reasonably intelligent person wrestles with is that no matter how successful we are, no matter how wonderful a life we build, or how well we take care of ourselves, we are going to die It is irrefutable Cemeteries don t lie Well, there is a lot of eternal lying down going on, but no duplicity None of us are going to escape the reaper No one is ascending on a cloud or going to the crossroads to make a deal with the Devil We all have to come face to face with death, and we can t take any of our bobbles, accolades, or power with us So the question that Levin ended up asking himself, the Biggest question even beyond, why am I here is Why do anything Without immortality, everything we attempt to do can seem futile Some would make the case that we live on in our kids and grandkids I say bugger to that I want time Well, there are ways to be immortal, and one of them is to write a masterpiece like Anna Karenina that will live forever By the end, I am ready to throttle Anna until her pretty eyes bug out of her head and her cheeks turn a vibrant pink, but at the same time, she seemed to be suffering from a host of mental disorders She was so cut off from everyone and so disdainful of everyone It was impossible not to hate such pathetically ugly people The friends she had had been ostracized from her by her own actions I had to believe her loathing of people was a projection of how she felt about herself She needed some time on Carl Jung s couch, but he was a wee tot when this book was published She needed to find some satisfaction in the ordinary and quit believing that a change in geography or in lovers was ever going to fix what was wrong with herself She had such a destructive personality Two men tried to kill themselves over her She was maliciously vengeful when someone didn t do something she wanted them to do and yet, I couldn t quite condemn her completely Her feelings of being stifled were perfectly natural We all feel that way at points in our lives We feel trapped by the circumstances of our life Her attempt to break free in the 1870s in Russian society was brave foolish She sacrificed everything to chase a dream The dream ate her This book is a masterpiece, not just a Russian masterpiece but a true gift to the world of literature If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Acclaimed By Many As The World S Greatest Novel, Anna Karenina Provides A Vast Panorama Of Contemporary Life In Russia And Of Humanity In General In It Tolstoy Uses His Intense Imaginative Insight To Create Some Of The Most Memorable Characters In All Of Literature Anna Is A Sophisticated Woman Who Abandons Her Empty Existence As The Wife Of Karenin And Turns To Count Vronsky To Fulfil Her Passionate Nature With Tragic Consequences Levin Is A Reflection Of Tolstoy Himself, Often Expressing The Author S Own Views And ConvictionsThroughout, Tolstoy Points No Moral, Merely Inviting Us Not To Judge But To Watch As Rosemary Edmonds Comments, He Leaves The Shifting Patterns Of The Kaleidoscope To Bring Home The Meaning Of The Brooding Words Following The Title, Vengeance Is Mine, And I Will Repay In lieu of a proper review of my favorite book, and in addition to the remark that it would be aptly named Konstantin Levin, I present to you the characters of Anna Karenina in a series of portraits painted by dead white men.Anna Karenina Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargent Alexei Karenin Portrait of Edouard Manet by Henri Fantin Latour Alexei Vronsky Study of a Young Man by John Singer Sargent Konstantin Levin Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife by John Singer SargentKitty Scherbatsky Portrait of Julie Manet by Pierre Auguste Renoir Stepan Arkadyick Oblonsky Monsieur Charpentier by Pierre Auguste Renoir Dolly Oblonsky The Marchioness of Downshire by John William Waterhouse An old muzhik Tolstoy Plowing by Ilya Yefimovich Repin yes, that is really a painting of Tolstoy himself, and he looks like what I imagine an old muzhik to look like. People are going to have to remember that this is the part of the review that is entirely of my own opinion and what I thought of the book, because what follows isn t entirely positive, but I hope it doesn t throw you off the book entirely and you still give it a chance Now my thoughts I picked up this book upon the advice of Oprah and her book club and my friend Kit They owe me hardcore now As does Mr Tolstoy This book was an extremely long read, not because of it s size and length necessarily, but because of it s content More often than not I found myself suddenly third a way down the page after my mind wandered off to other thoughts but I kept on reading am I the only one with the ability to do that You know, totally zoning out but continuing to read The subject I passed over though was so thoroughly boring that I didn t bother going back to re read it and it didn t affect my understanding of future events taking place later on in the book.Leo Tolstoy really enjoys tangents Constantly drifting away from the point of the book to go off on three page rants on farming methods, political policies and elections, or philosophical discussion on God Even the dialogue drifted off in that sort of manner Tolstoy constantly made detail of trifling matters, while important subjects that added to what little plot line this story had were just passed over Here is a small passage that is a wonderful example of what constantly takes place throughout the bookKostia, look out There s a bee Won t he sting cried Dolly, defending herself from a wasp That s not a bee that s a wasp said Levin Come, now Give us your theory, demanded Katavasof, evidently provoking Levin to a discussion Why shouldn t private persons have that right No mention of the wasp is made again Just a small example of how Tolstoy focuses much on philosophical thought, and thought in general, than any sort of action that will progress the story further That s part of the reason the story took so long to get through.The editing and translation of the version I got also wasn t very good Kit reckons that that s part of the reason I didn t enjoy it as much, and I am apt to agree with her If you do decide to read this book, your better choice is to go with the Oprah s Book Club edition of Anna Karenina.The characters weren t too great either and I felt only slightly sympathetic for them at certain moments The women most often were whiny and weak while the men seemed cruel and judgemental often than not Even Anna, who was supposedly strong willed and intelligent would go off on these irrational rants The women were constantly jealous and the men were always suspicious.There s not much else to say that I haven t already said There were only certain spots in the book which I enjoyed in the littlest, and even then I can t remember them All in all I did not enjoy this book, and it earned the names Anna Crapenina and Anna Kareniblah.But remember this is just one girl s opinion, if it sounded like a book you might enjoy I highly advise going out to read it Just try and get the Oprah edition. 8 150.. Not since I read The Brothers Karamazov have I felt as directly involved in characters worlds and minds Fascinating.I was hooked on Anna Karenina from the opening section when I realized that Tolstoy was brilliantly portraying characters thoughts and motivations in all of their contradictory, complex truth However, Tolstoy s skill is not just in characterization though he is the master of that art His prose invokes such passion There were parts of the book that took my breath because I realized that what I was reading was pure feeling when we realize that Anna is no longer pushing Vronsky away, when Levin proposes to Kitty, and later when Levin thinks about death The book effectively threw a shroud over me and sucked me in I almost missed my train stop a couple of times.That being said, there were some parts that were difficult to get through I felt myself slowing down in Part VI I was back in through the remainder of the book once I hit Part VII, but I understand how the deep dive into politics and farming can be off putting Still, in those chapters Tolstoy s characters are interacting, and it s incredible to see them speak and respond to one another It s not only worth the trouble, but deep down, it s no trouble at all It s to be savored, and sometimes we must be forced to slow down and think about the characters daily life as they navigate around in their relationships.A word about this translation When I was in college I attempted to read the Constance Garnett translation I didn t stop because it was awful I think finals came up, then the holidays, then classes, etc However, I never really felt like the words were as powerful as they should have been Years later, the only image that stuck in my mind was of Levin meeting Kitty at the ice skating rink I just never really entered the world of Anna Karenina, perhaps my fault than anything However, the diction and sentence construction in Pevear and Volokhonsky s translation is poetic and justifies the title masterpiece Through this translation I grew to appreciate Tolstoy not just because he told good, philosophical stories, but because he could do so with utmost subtletly and compactness yes, I think Tolstoy is concise Each word has its place.Understandably, many are unwilling to give themselves to this book Many expect it to do all of the work But it s an even better read because if the reader works, the experience of reading this book is incredible. Tolstoy draws a portrait of three marriages or relationships that could not be different Anna Karenina is rightly called a masterpiece Moreover Tolstoy does not spare on social socialism and describes the beginnings of communism, deals with such existential themes as birth and death and the meaning of life.Tolstoy s narrative art and his narrative charm are at the highest level He also seems like a close observer of human passions, feelings and emotions All in all I was touched by his book because it was one of the most impressive books I have ever read Kendi y celi inin y ksekli inden bana bakmas na bay l yorum Sayf 55 Belki de sahip Oldu um eylere sevindi im, sahip olmad klar ma da z lmedi im i in mutluyum Sayf 167 Kad n dedi in yle bir yarat k ki istedi in kadar incele, gene de hi bilmedi in yanlar yla kar la yorsun Sayf 168 Insana ak l, onu huzursuz eden eylerden kurtulmas i in verilmi tir Sayf 758 In the beginning, reading Anna Karenin can feel a little like visiting Paris for the first time You ve heard a lot about the place before you go Much of what you see from the bus you recognize from pictures and movies and books You can t help but think of the great writers and artists who have been here before you You expect to like it You want to like it But you don t want to feel like you have to like it You worry a little that you won t But after a few days, you settle in, and you feel the immensity of the place opening up all around you You keep having this experience of turning a corner and finding something beautiful that you hadn t been told to expect or catching sight of something familiar from a surprising angle You start to trust the abundance of the place, and your anxieties that someone else will have eaten everything up before your arrival relax Maybe that simile reveals about me than I d like My favorite discovery was the three or four chapters out of the book s 239 devoted to, of all things, scythe mowing chapters that become a celebratory meditation on physical labor When I read those chapters, I felt temporarily cured of the need to have something happen and became as absorbed in the reading as the mowers are absorbed in their work Of course, the book is about Anna and Vronsky and Levin and Kitty and Dolly and poor, stupid Stepan Arkadyich It s about their love and courtship and friendship and pride and shame and jealousy and betrayal and forgiveness and about the instable variety of happiness and unhappiness But it s also about mowing the grass and arguing politics and hunting and working as a bureaucrat and raising children and dealing politely with tedious company To put it accurately, it s about the way that the human mind or, as Tolstoy sometimes says, the human soul engages each of these experiences and tries to understand itself, the world around it, and the other souls that inhabit that world This book is not afraid to take up any part of human life because it believes that human beings are infinitely interesting and infinitely worthy of compassion And, what I found stirring, the book s fearlessness extends to matters of religion Tolstoy takes his characters seriously enough to acknowledge that they have spiritual lives that are as nuanced and mysterious as their intellectual lives and their romantic lives I knew to expect this dimension of the book, but I could not have known how encouraging it would be to dwell in it for so long.In the end, this is a book about life, written by a man who is profoundly in love with life Reading it makes me want to live. WARNING This is not a strict book review, but rather a meta review of what reading this book led to in my life Please avoid reading this if you re looking for an in depth analysis of Anna Karenina Thanks I should also mention that there is a big spoiler in here, in case you ve remained untouched by cultural osmosis, but you should read my review anyway to save yourself the trouble.I grew up believing, like most of us, that burning books was something Nazis did though, of course, burning Disco records at Shea stadium was perfectly fine I believed that burning books was only a couple of steps down from burning people in ovens, or that it was, at least, a step towards holocaust.If I heard the words burning books or book burning, I saw Gestapo, SS and SA marching around a mountainous bonfire of books in a menacingly lit square It s a scary image an image of censorship, of fear mongering, of mind control an image of evil So I never imagined that I would become a book burner That all changed the day Anna Karenina, that insufferable, whiny, pathetic, pain in the ass, finally jumped off the platform and killed herself That summer I was performing in Shakespeare in the Mountains, and I knew I d have plenty of down time, so it was a perfect summer to read another 1,000 page novel I d read Count of Monte Cristo one summer when I was working day camps, Les Miserable one summer when I was working at a residential camp, and Shogun in one of my final summers of zero responsibility A summer shifting back and forth between Marc Antony in Julius Caesar and Pinch, Antonio and the Nun which I played with great gusto, impersonating Terry Jones in drag in Comedy of Errors, or sitting at a pub in the mountains while I waited for the matinee to give way to the evening show, seemed an ideal time to blaze through a big meaty classic I narrowed the field to two by Tolstoy War and Peace and Anna Karenina I chose the latter and was very quickly sorry I did.I have never met such an unlikable bunch of bunsholes in my life m kayI admit itI am applying Mr Mackey s lesson You should see how much money I ve put in the vulgarity jar this past week Seriously I loathed them all and couldn t give a damn about their problems By the end of the first part I was longing for Anna to kill herself I d known the ending since I was a kid, and if you didn t and I spoiled it for you, sorry But how could you not know before now I wanted horrible things to happen to everyone I wanted Vronsky to die when his horse breaks its back I wanted everyone else to die of consumption like Nikolai And then I started thinking of how much fun it would be to rewrite this book with a mad Stalin cleansing the whole bunch of them and sending them to a Gulag in fact, this book is the ultimate excuse for the October Revolution though I am not comparing Stalinism to Bolshevism If I d lived as a serf amongst this pack of idiots I d have supported the Bolshies without a second thought.I found the book excruciating, but I was locked in my life long need to finish ANY book I started It was a compulsion I had never been able to break, and I had the time for it that summer I spent three months in the presence of powerful and or fun Shakespeare plays and contrasted those with a soul suckingly unenjoyable Tolstoy novel, and then I couldn t escape because of my own head I told myself many things to get through it all I am missing the point, Something s missing in translation, I m in the wrong head space, I shouldn t have read it while I was living and breathing Shakespeare, It will get better It never did Not for me I hated every m kaying page Then near the end of the summer, while I was sitting in the tent a couple of hours from the matinee I remember it was Comedy of Errors because I was there early to set up the puppet theatre , I finally had the momentary joy of Anna s suicide Ecstasy She was gone And I was almost free But then I wasn t free because I still had the final part of the novel to read, and I needed to get ready for the show, then after the show I was heading out to claim a campsite for an overnight before coming back for an evening show of Caesar I was worried I wouldn t have time to finish that day, but I read pages whenever I found a free moment and it was looking good Come twilight, I was through with the shows and back at camp with Erika and my little cousin Shaina The fire was innocently crackling, Erika was making hot dogs with Shaina, so I retreated to the tent and pushed through the rest of the book When it was over, I emerged full of anger and bile and tossed the book onto the picnic table with disgust I sat in front of the fire, eating my hot dogs and drinking beer, and that s when the fire stopped being innocent I knew I needed to burn this book I couldn t do it at first I had to talk myself into it, and I don t think I could have done it at all if Erika hadn t supported the decision She d lived through all of my complaining, though, and knew how much I hated the book and I am pretty sure she hated listening to my complaints almost as much So I looked at the book and the fire I ate marshmallows and spewed my disdain I sang Beatles songs, then went back to my rage, and finally I just stood up and said M kay it I tossed it into the flames and watched that brick of a book slowly twist and char and begin to float into the night sky The fire around the book blazed high for a good ten minutes, the first minute of which was colored by the inks of the cover, then it tumbled off its prop log and into the heart of the coals, disappearing forever I cheered and danced and exorcised that book from my system I felt better I was cleansed of my communion with those whiny Russians And I vowed in that moment to never again allow myself to get locked into a book I couldn t stand it s still hard, but I have put a few aside.Since the burning of Anna Karenina there have been a few books that have followed it into the flames Some because I loved them and wanted to give them an appropriate pyre, some because I loathed them and wanted to condemn them to the fire I don t see Nazis marching around the flames any either I see a clear mountain night, I taste bad wine and hot dogs, I hear wind forty feet up in the tops of the trees, I smell the chemical pong of toxic ink, and I feel the relief of never having to see Anna Karenina on my bookshelf again Whew I feel much better now.
commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction Many consider Tolstoy to have been one of the world s greatest novelists Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho pacifist His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
- 964 pages
- Анна Каренина
- Leo Tolstoy
- 22 August 2017 Leo Tolstoy