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Anna Karenina [Mass Market Paperback]

Leo Tolstoy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 19 2010 Enriched Classics (Simon & Schuster)

In this extraordinarily rich and complex novel, Anna Karenina defies the conventions of nineteenth-century Russian society and embarks on a love affair that has tragic consequences. Tolstoy’s work is a powerful meditation on love and marriage, envy and retribution, and the desire for happiness.


• A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information


• A chronology of the author’s life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book’s historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to guide the reader’s own interpretations


• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader’s experience

Simon & Schuster Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world’s finest books to their full potential.

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Product Details

Product Description


"One of the greatest love stories in world literature."
--Vladimir Nabokov

From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"One of the greatest love stories in world literature."
--Vladimir Nabokov --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all a matter of taste, after all July 14 2004
This will not, perhaps, be very helpful to you, future reader, to hear but: in my humble opinion, there is no way to *learn* to like Tolstoy. There's no process of adjustment, no method of accustoming oneself to the prose, the descriptions, the style, the themes. It's either there within you or it's not.
In other words, if you begin "Anna Karenina" and you are not immediately swept up into the story, with its many characters, family tensions, and ornate depiction of Russian society on many levels... If you are ten chapters in and going forward on pure stubbornness... Put the book down. Walk away. This is not for you.
For example: I read in an earlier review that the reader was "bored" by Levin's description of working in the fields with the peasants on his estate. Personally, I find that to be one of the most compelling passages in the entire book. I'm not right while the other reader is wrong, but I will say this: it's a matter of taste. If you are not engrossed by the complexities of this vast and entrenched society, if you do not feel sympathy for Levin, or feel drawn to Anna, or understand the attraction of Vronsky, then do not torture yourself, and move on.
If you're staying, though -- Anna remains, I believe, one of the most interesting protagonists in literature, and precisely because while the reader is almost unwillingly forced to sympathize with her feelings, it is similarly impossible to remove the stigma of blame from her, watching the wreck she makes of her life. Her transformation from the alluring and enchanting woman who so impresses young Kitty, to the sad and scorned woman that Vronsky himself no longer truly loves, in the end, is all of her own doing -- but who among us can say we would have successfully avoided all of her misjudgments?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oprah's Book Club?! June 1 2004
By Paige
Despite its slightly lackluster plot and rather excessive length, Anna Karenina remains one of my favorite books of all time. So very often when reading passages in this book I would think to myself, "Yes, exactly! That's it exactly!" There seems to be no thought pattern, no emotional subtlety, no tumultuous inner conflict - in short, no condition of being human, however complex - that Tolstoy cannot perfectly elucidate in description and metaphor. It is these magnificent insights into the human experience, presented with a clarity that will take your breath away, which for me made this book well worth reading.
Anyone looking for a quick read or uplifting storyline should probably look elsewhere (so I'm not exactly sure how this book ended up in Oprah's Book Club), but for those wishing to try and disentangle some of the more complex threads of the human condition, I could not recommend it more highly!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I could visualize every scene in the book because of this translation. I don't like Oprah's recommended translation (from Pelican books). I loved the cover painting, the font, the way the book opened, the layout, everything! I felt like I just went into the book every time I opened it. I didn't get that feeling with Oprah's version. If you're going to tackle Anna K (and you should, it's great reading!), please try this version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats Feb. 17 2004
"Anna Karenin" is a big novel, not as big as "War and Peace", but nonetheless large. Its length should not deter, for this is one of the truly great works of fiction: a compelling story working equally well on many levels, but principally a careful and insightful examination of the driving forces of human nature.
"Anna" is a more satisfying novel than "War and Peace". Tolstoy seems to be more in control of himself, less inclined to digress into preaching his philosophy. In this novel, he lets his characters do the talking for him. The novel is more engaging because of that.
The plot centres on a group of people in Russian high society each of whom are connected to greater or lesser degrees with Anna Karenin. The extra-marital relationship between Anna and Vronsky reverberates around the personal lives of each of the characters. Individuals (ie society) react to Anna's infidelity, but Tolstoy asks whether it is those really without guilt who are casting the stones. Anna is trapped inside a miserable marriage, and due to the draconian divorce laws of the time as they applied to women, has no escape without losing her future security and her son. One could argue that her husband is trapped in a different way - by his pride and narrow-minded obsession with social decorum.
Tolstoy presents a dechristianised urban Russia devoid of any supporting moral code. As it decays, the shoots of communism are appearing, feeding on the discontent both with and within the ruling classes. Tolstoy hits out in particular at the rich speculators - people who make money by mere speculation rather than work - and at the obscene rewards given to people by virtue of their rank rather than the performance of their companies (how times change?).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Romantic Tradgedy Dec 8 2003
This classic is regarded by many as one of the greatest novels written and it is one of the best I have read.
The plot is primarily centered around the tragic adulterous relationship between the beautiful high-society socialite Anna Karenina and the wealthy, suave Vronsky. Anna, dissatisfied in a loveless marriage to Karenin, the older , stiff and formal career bureaucrat, falls for the advances of Vronsky and ultimately abandons her husband and child for him. In so doing, though, she violates the unwritten tenets of high-society and is refused entry into the social circles she once frequented. Running parallel to this drama is the love affair between Levin and Kitty, which, in its innocence and beauty, stands in stark contrast to the illicit imbroglio of Anna and Vronsky. Intertwined throughout are a cast of characters that give life to Tolstoy's portrait Russian high society and allows him to flesh out his views on everything from his own struggles with religious faith and the meaning of life, to the role and place peasants in Russian society.
I think what I liked and appreciated most about this work is the way Tolstoy conveys emotions and feelings in his characters down to the smallest details. I was absolutely riveted by the way Tolstoy depicted Anna's state of mind, especially as it became quite clear that she was heading toward a psychological abyss and her grasp on reality became tenuous.
Excellent and highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna Karenina
Though the book was long somehow I did not find it tedious or boring. I liked the contrasting views of Anna and Levin both struggling to find happiness and the true meaning of... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Kathleen Suite
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reading
Another great novel by Tolstoy, not quite as good as War and Peace, but still enjoyable reading. A must read for anyone with a love of good literature and an interest in Russian... Read more
Published 3 months ago by cathi
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
A very enjoyable story.I am liking it very much.Thank-you thank-you for sending such a lovely and inspiring book.I probably will buy another Russian story.
Published 6 months ago by Roy Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
An excellent read. The characters in the book are all interesting and I can relate to some of them. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Socorro Antolin
5.0 out of 5 stars good Book
Enjoyed this book, now want to see the film to compare
I would recommend this to a friend
Enjoyable read
Published 8 months ago by Stephanie McLachlan
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time best classics
Anna Karenina is a remarkable story by one of the few mega-novelists of all times. In every way, it is an ageless story that is more real than fiction. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Peter Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Love my Kindle
I had been thinking of buying this one Tolstoy novel which I had not read before. Then, like magic, I received my Kindle for my birthday, and Anna Karenina was available at no... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Val Mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars Russian tale
This was a interesting book considering the time in which it was written. I don'T KNOW WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN LOST IN TRANSLATION but enjoyed the book as a whole. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cathleen Sinclair
4.0 out of 5 stars Four stars
It took me a while to get through this book. I'm not a scholar or academic at all but this book is on the list of books to read before you die and it's a classic so I wanted to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Vamplover
3.0 out of 5 stars Psychologized and politicized romance
I know Tolstoy is a literary writer. This books reads like a psychologized romance - not my favourite kind of book.
Published 12 months ago by ricky
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