Anna Karenina Hardcover – Apr 28 1992
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Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world's greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy's best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn't take well to that sort of thing. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In a novel as good and as spacious as Tolstoy’s all things are possible. It must contain, as it does, the muddle and unpredictability of life, its refusal to supply endings or neat situations. And indeed this is where the greatness of the novel will be found to lie. Of all authors Tolstoy is the one whose art most contradicts his own views, and yet the one whose true personality is most revealed in his art. And what is Anna’s 'true personality'? It remains to the end not an enigma, but a factor and a phenomenon that is infinitely variable, like life itself.”
–from the Introduction by John Bayley
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Anna who is married to the wealthy and older Karenin lives a life of comfort without any excitement, a life that is full of routines and no zest. It is a life she had become used to until she meets the elegant Vronsky and falls in love. Now she must pay the price of adultery or seek marital stability and forgo the echoes of her heart, a soul searching trial that destabilizes the life of her family and that of her lover. In essence she abandons the meaning for her life and pursues the zest of life.
On the other hand is Levine who is in search of the meaning of life and abandons the zest of life for a purposeful life that includes a family, ideas on the advancement of humanism, being at peace with ones world and hard work in is farm and being at peace with God.
In a way, both Levine and Anna can not be blamed for opting considering one choice above the other. They all wanted happiness without having evil intentions and found a balance between the zest of life and the search of its meaning in their own different ways, hurting and find love in the process and in the end, enriching and destroying themselves in their different ways. A highly recommended read and the most insightful love story I have ever read.The Union Moujik, Doctor Zhivago , Eugene Onegin are some of the other books set in Russia that I enjoyed alongside Anna Karenina.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed by the genius that is Tolstoy. However, what I do feel that I need to mention is that there are a couple of errors in the Kindle version of the Oxford Worlds Classics text. This was a minor annoyance but should nevertheless be noted by those who are considering buying this translation/version of Anna Karenina.
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.Read more ›
Amidst the often supercilious affectations of Russian nobility in Petersburg and Moscow, Tolstoy's refutation of the timeless notion of "greener pastures" plays out with striking effect. Of course, the impact of any 19th-century literature is directly proportional to one's predilections. However, Anna Karenina will engross, may even occasionally bore, but will never be less than a lesson well taught for those of the mind for reflection.
Most recent customer reviews
The book was in perfect condition, such a lovely edition! One of the best quality books I have ever purchased. Received product within 2 days!Published on June 11 2014 by Alexa Nicoll
Everyone should own a copy! Tolstoy is a great writer and this book should be treated like a bible! Great christmas gift tooPublished on Dec 5 2012 by V
Although I am rereading Anna Karenina, I do so from time to time as it is one of my faves. This book by Leo Tolstoy is particularly interesting since it mirrors his own life (he... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2012 by Susi
I loved how the writer tells the story in different perspectives through each charater. It is written as if you can feel what each of the characters feel and you know them inside... Read morePublished on Dec 6 2010 by Victoria
The central love story between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky is compelling and tragic. Anna and the Count have an affair, causing much talk in society. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2006 by Sona Ujcikova
Despite some boring points during the book, like Vronskiy's horse race, Levin going hunting with his friends or threshing with his estate's peasants, the chapters where the male... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Anyechka
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