Anna Karenina Mass Market Paperback – Oct 19 2010
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"One of the greatest love stories in world literature."
From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
A magnificent drama of vengeance, infidelity, and retribution, Anna Karenina portrays the moving story of people whose emotions conflict with the dominant social mores of their time. Sensual, rebellious Anna falls deeply and passionately in love with the handsome Count Vronsky. When she refuses to conduct the discreet affair that her cold, ambitious husband (and Russian high society) would condone, she is doomed. Set against the tragic love of Anna and Vronsky, the plight of the melancholy nobleman Konstantine Levin unfolds. In doubt about the meaning of life, haunted by thoughts of suicide, Levin's struggles echo Tolstoy's own spiritual crisis. But Anna's inner turmoil mirrors the own emotional imprisonment and mental disintegration of a woman who dares to transgress the strictures of a patriarchal world. In Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy brought to perfection the novel of social realism and created a masterpiece that bared the Russian soul. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
"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?).Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Oprah Winfrey was right about her high regards for his story. Anna Karenina, a remarkable work of art by one of the few mega-novelists of all times is an ageless story that is more... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Peter Jones
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 morePublished 18 months ago by Kathleen Suite
Z said it best. The novel itself is quite brilliant, but this translation is not. It's far too romanticized and the prose is too 'floaty' (you'll see what I mean when you read it). Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2011 by ColourSurround
"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... Read morePublished on March 22 2007 by EA Solinas
I would have enjoyed this book so much more if it weren't for its length and its long but unnecessary events and dialogue in its pages. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by danielle
1--Because you have read, understood and enjoyed Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
2--Because you have patience and appreciate Tolstoys elegant, long-winded, moralistic,... Read more
Despite its slightly lackluster plot and rather excessive length, Anna Karenina remains one of my favorite books of all time. Read morePublished on June 1 2004 by Paige
I deleted my previous review because I was drunk when I wrote it.
This book is in fact classic literature; probably one of the works out of Russian Literature that get lumped... Read more
There is much dallying in the hayricks of the country, and in the regiments of the great cities! But luckily for 19th century Russia, DNA testing hasn't yet been invented, or... Read morePublished on April 6 2004 by Author in the Attic