October 26, 2012
Looking Back - Anna Karenina
Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Rosemary Edmonds
1954 Penguin Classics
All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion.
With Anna Karenin, Tolstoy's most perfect work, the psychological novel of the nineteenth century reached its peak.
Acclaimed by many as the world's greatest novel, Anna Karenin 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 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 convictions.
Throughout, 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.'"
My Original Notes:
I enjoyed the book, although it tends to drag in spots. Very long! I read a few other books while giving AK a rest. The ending just seemed to fizzle out. Not as good as Dr. Zhivago. My first Tolstoy.
Bellezza and Arti are reading this classic during October, so I pulled my copy off the shelf and read a few pages here and there. If I ever decide to read it again, I'll give the audio a listen, as I'm not sure I'm interested enough to read all 853 pages a second time! It's been quite a few years since I watched the 1948 film, staring Vivien Leigh, and I'm looking forward to seeing the updated version, starring Keira Knightley, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Jude Law.
In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to begin posting (in chronological order) one or two entries every week. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.