Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together.Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.
Love, tragedy, infidelity, this book has it all. Unfortunately, I found myself having to go back and re-read sentences and entire pages because Tolstoy is one long-winded person. Here is one example of such: “Every person in the house felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that the stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common with one another than they, the members of the family and household of the Oblonskys. The wife did not leave her own room, the husband had not been at home for three days.”
That’s the fourth sentence of the second paragraph. That, in and of itself, is simple enough to understand, but when entire pages and chapters are made up of similar passages, it lends itself to absurdity.
I am not afraid of long books. In fact, I love them. My favorite book is just shy of 1,000 pages. I’ve read Winds of War/War and Remembrance at least three times because I love the characters. This book, however, I found myself wanting to strangle them. Each was too whiny to care about, particularly since they brought their situations upon themselves.
If you are truly wanting to read this book, props to you. However, be prepared for a difficult journey.