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Anna Karenina (Centennial Edition) [Mass Market Paperback]

Leo Tolstoy , Priscilla Meyer , David Magarshack
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 2 2010 Signet Classics
The sensual, rebellious Anna renounces a respectable yet stifling marriage for an affair that offers passion even as it ensnares her for destruction. Her story contrasts with that of Levin, a young, self- doubting agnostic who takes a different path to fulfillment.


@DoTheLocomotion Some gentleman danced with me the whole night. We got a little grinding on, but not too much. This is formal Russian society, mind you.

Apparently by dancing with Vronsky I pussy-blocked a girl called Kitty. I suppose that’s ironic. You’d think with a name like that…

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About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.

David Magarshack was known for his many translations from his native Russian, including works by Dostoyevsky.


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All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Anna March 22 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." That line opens and sets the tone of "Anna Karenina," a tangled and tragic tale of nineteenth century Russia. Tolstoy's story of lovers and family is interlaced with razor-sharp social commentary and odd moments that are almost transcendent. In other words, this is a masterpiece.

When Stepan Oblonsky has an affair with the governess, his wife says that she's leaving him, and now the family is about to disintegrate. Stepan's sister Anna arrives to smooth over their marital problems, and consoles his wife Dolly until she agrees to stay. But on the train there, she met the outspoken Countess Vronsky, and the countess's dashing son, who is semi-engaged to Dolly's sister Kitty.

Anna and Vronsky start to fall in love -- despite the fact that Anna has been married for ten years, to a wealthy husband she doesn't care about, and has a young son. Even so, Anna rejects her loveless marriage and becomes the center of scandal and public hypocrisy, and even becomes pregnany by Vronsky. As she prepares to jump ship and get a divorce, Anna becomes a victim of her own passions...

That isn't the entire story, actually -- Tolstoy weaves in other plots, about disintegrating families, new marriages, and the melancholy Levin's constant search for God, truth, and goodness. Despite the grim storyline about adultery, and the social commentary, there's an almost transcendent quality to some of Tolstoy's writing. It's the most optimistic tragic book I've ever read.

For some reason, Tolstoy called this his "first novel," even though he had already written some before that. Perhaps it's because "Anna Karenina" tackles so many questions and themes, and does so without ever dropping the ball.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anna Karenina Nov. 21 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a rather daunting undertaking, but so worth it in the end. The book is incredibly long and detailed. But it is also engaging, heart-wrenching and realistic. The emotions, motivations, private heartache, and public reactions of his characters ring true to the reader. Anna Karenina broke my heart. I sobbed as I read it. The broken relationship between Anna and her son was more than I could bear at times. I had to take breaks while reading to quell the oppressing sadness with which this book filled me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Tolstoy Translation June 11 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Going through the particulars in pertinance to Anna Karenina (the story that is) would be somewhat redundant. That is, anything I could possibly say about such story would be tautology at this point. However, I can praise this Signet Edition of Anna Karenina for its more-than-adaquate hoisting of Tolstoy's masterful work. The language used is kept relatively bare as Tolstoy himself wrote, e.g. the traditional Russian patricarchal titles are simplified and an English system of address is used. This leaves the gipping tale of love, deception, etc. (really, its universality is quite surprising; on many the occasion does an event within my own life coinside with that of the world of Anna Karenina), to come through, free of technicality, in true romantic form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Immersion into Everyday Life Aug. 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anna Karenina provides well a window into the rich diversity and complexity within human nature. Tolstoy, relentlessly rich in details, paints characters so deep and natural, that as a reader, I could relate with all the characters, at least in some way.
Their emotions and problems are real: Anna and her adulterous love affair with Vronsky, and Lenin, with his painful pursuit of purpose in this life. Oblonsky struggles to find substance in his "play-acted" life, and Kitty realizes only too late she spurned the man she truly loves. One could go on and on...so much life and human color is contained within the pages.
The novel is down to earth and beautifully written, and provides a wonderful depiction of 19th century Russia.
If you struggle in relationships, question God, or doubt the purpose of it all, this book is for you. I promise you'll find yourself in all the characters...I sure did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing window into the 19th century July 26 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tolstoy had talent most of us can only dream about. In Anna Karenina he examines the central problem of life through two distinct lenses - Anna, whose discontent is acknowledged in the affair with the dashing Vronsky, and Konstantin, also disillusioned, at first spurned, and later rewarded for accepting what seem to be Tolstoy's views of the truest of virtues.
The novel is brimming with ambitious ideas about love, family, society, religion, service, deceit, you name it. In addition, the writing is well exectuted and highly compelling even to the modern reader. Without giving away the ending I would simply say that the outcomes both follow the logic of Tolstoy's opinions about right and wrong. A long novel that one only wishes could never end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece June 21 2001
By Raji
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before the Russians were allow to read the Bible, they had the authors Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. This book by Tolstoy has all the elements of sin, redemption, sanctification, and renewal. The character portraits are amazing. Tolstoy provides an interlocking profile of three marriages and a relationship, each with its own distinct character. As the opening sentence implies, some of the relationships are more harmonious than others.
Tolstoy was a master of depicting character - a few pages into the story and Oblonsky comes to life for the reader. The same is true of Ann, Kitty, Levin, and all of the other main characters. Tolstoy often achieves an immediate characterization by describing one character through the eyes of another, as in the early description of Kitty through Levin's love-struck eyes.
One of the best books ever written.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand's opinion
Why does Ayn Rand say that "this is the most evil book in all of serious liturature"?
Published on June 20 2004 by Suenote
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful soap opera
This is a delightful soap opera which is as current now as it was when it was written. There's lots of history and lots of description and its fascinating to think that it was... Read more
Published on April 21 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad tolstoy isn't my next door neighbor.
This 80000000000000000000 page "book" isn't just boring and depressing, it's frighteningly so. Read more
Published on April 11 2001 by B. M. White
5.0 out of 5 stars "what can you name that's superior?"
For the longest time I have been reticent to write a review of Anna for fear of not being able to do the book justice. Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2001 by Cipriano
5.0 out of 5 stars Two stories for the price of one!
There are two stories in this novel, which are connected at the beginning but become pretty much completely separate in the end. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2001 by Keith Fraser
1.0 out of 5 stars Tabloid Romance nothing more
We must ask the question is this a novel of greatness or is it just a long Mills and Boon piece of flummery. The answer is in the book is a tabloid love story. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2000 by "the_battlers_prince"
4.0 out of 5 stars a super-saturated mega-novel; less would have been more
I took up Anna Karenina thinking that it would be an epic saga concerning a woman victimized by a male-dominated, 19th century Russian society. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2000 by lazza
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