Saturday, December 12, 2009

Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

anna karenina
leo tolstoy
c. 1877
817 pages
completed 12/10/2009

read for: comp lit 211, 100 greatest novels, 1001 books, penguin classics

*may contain spoilers*

Anna Karenina is a story of a woman, unhappy in her marriage, who seeks love elsewhere with disastrous results. As a counterpoint, this is also telling the love stories, whether tragic or joyful, of other people in Anna's life.

I have been planning on reading this for some time, but just couldn't get around to it. Thankfully school, albeit a really terrible Lit class taught by someone I have nicknamed "Dr. Butthead," has forced me to read it. It's a little daunting, at 817 pages, but is actually a pretty steady read. As Rory Gilmore said, Tolstoy wrote for the masses. So it's not filled with prose that's attempting to be overly poetic and fancy. It's plain and simple which makes for an easy and compelling read.

I will be totally honest and say that I actually did NOT like Anna. I felt bad for her, obviously. She's in a loveless marriage with a man 20 years her senior in a time where that was not uncommon and there was not a whole lot you could do about it. But even so, I feel like she made a LOT of bad choices. Letting Vronsky come to her house, not divorcing Karenin when she had the chance. And it was hard to watch her throw her child away and cling so hard to Vronsky which in turn caused Vronsky to pull away from her. I always got a little bummed when the book switched back to her story line.

On the flip side, I enjoyed every page involving Levin and Kitty. Even when Levin was just chillin in his fields working with the muzhiks I was entertained. I enjoyed the ups and downs of their relationship, the little squabbles they had to work through and the personal quirks they had to get used to. It wasn't as loudly passionate as Anna and Vronsky; instead it was quiet and sweet. And I liked that.



Diane said...

I liked this book when I read it, but I could never see myself rereading it.

Great review.

Veronica said...

Diane, I think I agree. I really enjoyed it, and it's one of those books I always felt I needed to read just so I could have an opinion about it. But I don't see myself reading it again.

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