Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.
Oh Anna Karenina why have I not read you before now? Well I know why I didn't. I have had Anna Karenina on my to read list probably since the last movie came out. I remember seeing the preview for that and seeing Anna getting on a train all bundled up with snow on the ground and I just loved the imagery. I loved it so much I thought oh I should read this book (I didn't watch the movie though which now seems odd, but oh well). I knew next to nothing about the plot besides Anna has an affair with someone. That is it. So I put it on my to read list, but kept shying away from it. Why? Well I thought it would be really dense and heavy to read. It is a longer book and I thought it would take forever to get through since it would be really slow going. Man was I wrong! I loved it from the first page. Absolutely loved it. I will say if you do not enjoy it right away you might as well stop reading. It doesn't get "better." It is the same kind of ridiculous entertaining verbose story that goes off on great tangents all the time from the first page to the last. It was such a great read.
So as I said I was hooked from page one. The story just had me chuckling all the time. The people just seem so ridiculous! In a way that I loved. I love books set and/or written back in the day. I love reading what people thought at the time and see how characters act and whatnot. This book was just great for that. All of the main characters are just so fickle and I loved reading it. Although I will say the book is more about Levin than Anna. I see where Anna would be the title character since it is kind of about how she effects everyone else with what she does, but I wouldn't say the story is really about her. I loved Levin. I read some other reviews and saw that a lot of people did not enjoy all the farming talk from Levin in the country on his farm, but I loved it. Those were some of my favorite parts of the book. Levin in the fields harvesting his crops with the peasants, talking about farming and what he needs to do, etc. It was so interesting to me and I just really enjoyed him as a character and his views on things. I loved him from the start where he says how he loved this one family and
"He felt, as it were, that he had to be in love with one of the sisters, only he could not quite make out which."
How can you not love that? At first he thought he would love Dolly, but she married Stiva. Then the next sister, but she married quick too. That left Kitty so Kitty it was. It just entertains me so much to read stuff like this. Levin was no end to amusement with me. Really the whole book is like this. All the characters and everything that happens. Amazing.
Really I enjoyed reading most all of the characters. I loved how wishy washy they were. I loved how one look or one word would make them doubt their thoughts and feelings, but then two seconds later they would be sure again. It was a constant back and forth with all of them and it was great. Anna gets especially bad at this towards the end. Oh he loves me everything is great! Wait no, he tilted his head, he hates me and loves another! No wait, I am just being silly he loves me! And on and on. It was great. There were so many parts where I was just like this is amazing! This is so ridiculous and fun and I love it! The way everything is described, what happens, what people talk about, all of it was entertaining to me.
I don't really want to spoil anything if like me you managed to make it this far and not know what happens in this book so I don't want to talk to much about what happens. I will say there are a lot of tangents, a lot of snippets that don't necessarily need to be in there, a lot of random discussions and such that I can see where people might find it tedious, but I loved it. Sure there are discussions on politics and religion and such, but I enjoyed read them. Although I kind of wish it wouldn't have had the last section. I wish it would have ended the section before that as that to me was a perfect ending to the story. The last section didn't add much for me and I just kind of skimmed it, which is unfortunate since I was so enjoying the rest of the story. Really a great read that you should give a try. If you don't like it you don't like it, but if you love the first pages as I have you will love this book! It just gets better and better.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2