October 26, 2012

Looking Back - Anna Karenina

Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Rosemary Edmonds
1954 Penguin Classics
Finished 12/29/95

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. 

Current Thoughts:

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.


  1. Well, I am WAY impressed. I saw the 1970s PBS version, and that was enough for me! As much as I am fond of Jude Law :<), I think I'll pass on the movie.

    1. I'm quite fond of Jude Law, too. ;) We just watched Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and I'm ready to re-watch Sherlock Holmes. Law and Downey are as entertaining as Redford and Newman. :)

  2. I liked the first SH movie better than second. I thought the latter one got bogged down and I was bored toward the end, but the first one was so realistic to me - the way that part of the world was in that particular time. My favorite RD role ever is in Home For The Holidays, something I watch most every year.

    1. That's funny. I liked the second one better than the first. I couldn't even watch all of the first, but now I'm curious and want to try again. I need to rent Home For the Holidays. I can't remember if I've ever seen it. I know you've talked about it in the past.

  3. I want to watch the new movie and hope that will inspire me to read my copy that I've had for over 10 years sitting on the shelf!

    1. It might be easier to read the book after watching the movie, although it's not a complicated plot. Just long! :)


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