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Paperback Anna Karenina (Oprah #5) : (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Book

ISBN: 0143035002

ISBN13: 9780143035008

Anna Karenina (Oprah #5) : (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

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Book Overview

The must-have Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of one of the greatest Russian novels ever written Described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written and by Fyodor Dostoevsky as "flawless," Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Greatest Novel Ever Written

I read this book in 1993, and I still remember the experience. It has been called the greatest novel ever written and I agree. It is a very long book: I read a few chapters a day over a long period of time. Over time the feeling developed that the characters, and Tolstoy himself (in Levin), were people I knew -- people with whom I spent some time each day. The philosophy was mind-expanding; I'm sure my views were affected. For me, the important thing in reading this book was not to try to "get through" it, but to "visit" it as I would visit congenial neighbors. When I finished, I felt loneliness over loss of contact with the characters. I'm going to read it again some day.

Excellent on so many levels

Don't go through life without reading "Anna Karenina." This novel is excellent on so many levels that you can read it again and again, as I have, and still thoroughly enjoy it. Tolstoy skillfully tells two different stories simultaneously, based on the same theme: How does one find true happiness? Anna makes a choice and tries to bravely see it through, trying all the while to persuade herself that she's found happiness, but you can feel the strain build as the novel nears its climax. Levin nearly drives himself insane in his mental tug-of-war over where his place in life should be, but eventually comes full circle. In their journeys, Anna and Levin cross paths, with fascinating results. I can't stress enough that this book is a must-read. Be prepared to be thoughtful, depressed, elated and emotionally drained.

Quite simply, The Novel

"Anna Karenina" is why the novel was invented. It is a colossal achievement that fully exploits the possibilities inherent in the literary form. The purpose of the 19th-century novel was to explore character and to critique society, and Tolstoy here has achieved the quintessence of both aims. The thing about Tolstoy is that you can trust him -- he is utterly honest. He doesn't revise, or simplify, or sugar-coat. He presents the human mind, in its various guises, precisely as it is. Levin, to my mind, rivals Hamlet as the most vivid, fully living character in literature, and he is probably much more self-consistent than the Melancholy Dane. Anna's story, which is more melodramatic and plot-heavy, might strike some as a flaw in comparison to Levin's. And maybe it is a flaw. But one must talk about flaws in "Anna Karenina" as one talks about flaws in Beethoven's 9th Symphony -- blemishes on a masterpiece which, if it errs, errs only in striving further than the art form is supposed to go.Tolstoy's genius at depicting character and psychology is matched by his ability to construct vivid, memorable setpieces. No one who has read "Anna Karenina" can ever forget the hay-mowing, or Vronksy's horse race, or the heartbreaking scenes of Levin's sickly brother.Even Dickens, with all his glorious phantasmagoria, never achieved what Tolstoy has done here. Tolstoy caught lightning in a bottle: homo sapiens, captured in 800-odd pages. There are only a handful of comparable achievements in all of Western art.

Thrilling and packed with tragedy!

Essentially, Anna Karenina is an amorous novel that describes two epic tales of people's quests for love. Levin and Anna, the two characters who are central to these individual stories, never meet but this is entirely intentional. Instead, they allow Tolstoy to write both a tragic and cheerful ending which had never been achieved before. But what can we learn about love from this classic novel? Firstly, one must look in detail at the polarised fates of both Levin and Anna and then ask how, despite their similar personalities, did they both finish in completely different circumstances. One of Tolstoy's greatest talents is describing characters; even after a few pages of the book Oblonksy comes to life to the reader. Levin, who is an image of Tolstoy himself, is depicted in an extremely pleasant manner and his views are well ahead of his time. For example, he was the only farmer who cared for the wellbeing of his serfs. However, he is not conveyed as a romantic person but he does fall deeply in love with Kitty. Levin met her at one of the formal soirees that were so common during the aristocracy of Russia at the time. Unfortunately, he was confronted by a disapproving mother who disliked him because he was not as popular or respected as Count Vronksy. After this, and even more embarrassingly, Kitty refused Levin's proposal. Levin then retreated to his country estate where he returned to nature and his most ideal surroundings. This scenario teaches or sets the examples of one of the most renowned incidents about love. What one wishes to believe or read into a fictitious situation is entirely independent; however, there are useful lessons that can be drawn from these examples, which have extracted from reality. Firstly, Levin's approach towards Kitty is conveyed as nervous and not wholehearted. This is deliberately done in order to show that an unconfident advance is more likely to cause damage than conclude in a positive ending. Levin's life, however, is gradually rebuilt through the honest interest he has in his inefficient farm and Oblonksy, his childhood friend. Oblonksy, who has already suffered marital problems, visits him and acts as a go-between bringing information about Kitty, who falls dramatically ill and finally goes abroad. Oblonksy's own marriage perhaps brings one of the most important aspects of matrimony to the forefront. Oblonksy, who leads an aristocratic lifestyle despite his financial problems, betrays his wife, Dolly, leaving her devastated. This causes constant problems for the first fifty pages of the novel as he tries to regain her trust and faith. The point that Tolstoy wishes to convey here is that love can change and will do so if precious attention is not continually given to strengthen the relationship. The remainder of the family, including the servants, also suffers and this is well described by the author and is reflected in Oblonksy's carefree approach to life. Anna also exp

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