Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina Review

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hello everyone!

I'm finally back!  Senior year has been crazy and blogging has been on hold for a while.  But I have just finished reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna last.  This book has taken me forever to get through. While the prose is fabulous and the narrative is eloquently written, the plot is wretchedly slow.  So it kind of took me a while to finish!

Anna is a young socialite who is married to Alexey Karenin, a government official who is twenty years her senior.  When she meets the suave Count Alexey Vronsky, she is swept off her feet into a life changing affair.

I must say, I was quite impressed with Tolstoy's plot structure and writing style.  I loved how he combined two stories, the sweet romance between Levin and Princess Kitty, and then the passionate affair between Anna and Vronsky.  However, I think about a fourth of the book should have been edited out of the final copy to make it easier on the reader.  The middle became very confusing, with so much unnecessary action.

As for Anna, I despised her.  Sometimes, it felt like Tolstoy wanted the reader to sympathize with her because she was bound in a loveless marriage.  However, I thought her treatment of Karenin was abrasive and cruel, especially pertaining to the manner in which she announced her infidelity: "I love him, I am his mistress; I can't bear you; I'm afraid of you and I hate you...You can do what you like with me."

Furthermore, I found the portrayal of Vronsky to be ironic.  He was originally played up to be a charming young man with great ambitions—the kind of man any young girl would hope to marry.  After his relationship with Anna, though, the reader was given a glimpse into the reality of his character, that he is both selfish and vain, and also that his passion for Anna cools as the novel progresses.  It was also quite interesting that both Vronsky, the lover, and Karenin, the husband, had the same name...It was almost like Anna was looking for fulfillment in Vronsky, only to be let down in another relationship, as she was with her husband.

All in all, it was a good book and I'm glad I read it!


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