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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina (1877)

by Leo Tolstoy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,48641844 (4.16)5 / 1340
  1. 131
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (roby72)
  2. 143
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Booksloth, luzestrella)
    luzestrella: when I got to the middle of the book I was shocked. It seens like the climax of all the main conclicts were already there. Why didn't the author cut the novel right there with that happy ending? Unnusual for a ficcion novel indeep. But for that particular reason, for me it has it's charm. The other half of the novel goes on describing what happened with the characters after they got what they wanted.… (more)
  3. 70
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (roby72)
  4. 60
    The Princesse de Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (andejons)
    andejons: Similar premises: married, upper class women fall in love with men of less than perfect moral standing. The outcomes are very different though.
  5. 62
    Emma by Jane Austen (roby72)
  6. 51
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (pingdjip)
    pingdjip: Like Tolstoy, Faber goes under his characters' skin, ponders their social manoeuvering, and follows the pitfalls and triumphs of their lives. Difference: Faber is funny and sometimes provocative and teasing in a "postmodern" way.
  7. 31
    What Happened to Anna K.: A Novel by Irina Reyn (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Irina Reyn updates the classic _Anna Karenina_ to the Russian diaspora of New York City.
  8. 20
    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (Henrik_Madsen)
    Henrik_Madsen: To romaner af murstensstørrelse der analyserer og beskriver overklassefamiliernes komplicerede liv.
  9. 42
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (alalba)
  10. 10
    La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas (alalba)
  11. 10
    Eirelan by Liam O'Shiel (allthesepieces)
    allthesepieces: Both books build complex stories that delve into the nature of loyalty in relationships.
  12. 11
    The Maias by Eca de Queiros (Anonymous user)
  13. 11
    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (uri-starkey)
  14. 13
    Eine Frage der Schuld: Roman - Mit der «Kurzen Autobiographie der Gräfin S. A. Tolstaja»: Anläßlich der "Kreutzersonate" von Lew Tolstoi. Mit einem Nachwort von Ursula Keller by Sofja Tolstaja (Monika_L)

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Showing 1-5 of 386 (next | show all)
No one is probably more upset by my three-star rating than I am. I love the Russian greats. I love epic novels. I love Tolstoy. And yet, despite Anna Karenina’s status as a classic, this one only mildly worked for me.
First of all, the story is great. I love the drama. Whether it be Kitty and Vronsky, Anna and Karenin, Dolly and Oblonsky, Anna and Vronsky, Kitty and Levin, or Levin and Levin’s ego, I was entertained by the constant building up and tearing down of relationships. And these characters are wonderful. Their lives aren’t always the most exciting (though sometimes they are), but their internal dialogue really paints characters I want to know better.
I thought the foreshadowing was done exceptionally well, and though it was perhaps too evident what was going to happen in the end (it was the horse race that did it for me), the novel was not guilty of pandering to less observant readers. Further, some of the philosophical ramblings and moral considerations were entertaining and thought-provoking. Certainly it wouldn’t be Tolstoy without them.
For me, Anna K. lacked direction and focus, however. I’ve read War & Peace. I knew to expect long scenes and longer ramblings. But even with its epic cast and wide setting, W&P was a more tightly focused novel.
This lack of focus is evident in the title. Shouldn’t a book named Anna Karenina be about Anna Karenina? But really, it’s not. Sure, she’s a central figure and probably her story is the most memorable of the stories in the novel, but she’s not the most prominent character, nor is she necessarily the most well-drawn or interesting character.
The themes in Anna K. are strong and well-thought-out, yet Tolstoy’s net is cast so wide that many of them slip right through. What is this novel about? Well, love obviously. As well as gender roles, family, compassion, and… well… other stuff. Lots of other stuff.
I think these themes would’ve come through clearer had Tolstoy spent less time theorizing and more time on the building of characters. The story of Anna and Vronsky, for instance, appears more as a slide show than as a complete story: here is where we met *click* this is our first date *click* this is us post-shag *click*. I never really get a complete sense of who the people are. I understand what motivates Anna, but I want to see her decisions played out. I want to better feel—no, I want to see her turmoil played out. This turmoil is evident, as I mentioned earlier, in the thoughts of the characters, but I want see it unleashed on stage. The reader gets a vision of this turmoil during what I’ll call “the unraveling,” but I would’ve liked to have seen more of it earlier.
I’ve watched enough Russian films and read enough Russian stories to know that Russians do not like to be rushed. Yes, I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, but I have yet to encounter one. Any story that can be told in 45 minutes will probably be stretched to two hours in the hand of a Russian. That’s fine. I can respect that. But in Anna Karenina, not only is Tolstoy taking his time to tell the story, but he’s running around, letting his ADD get the best of him while telling the story.
It’s a good story. If you haven’t already read it, then you should. But it’s possible (very possible) your mind will wander. If this wandering mind bothers you, just consider it an exercise in better understanding the author. And remember, not everything Tolstoy wrote was quite so digressive (long-winded, yes; but not without coherence). ( )
  chrisblocker | May 18, 2015 |
Never have I been so glad to finish a book. I love big books and I can get through them pretty fast but Anna Karenina took me forever because it was just so slow moving. Lots of characters to get confused. Some of the best parts of the book I was looking forward to, Anna and Vronsky finally being together were completely blown over and didn't know until she was pregnant. Then the rest of the book is her going back and forth on what to do stay with her husband or leave with her lover, when she finally makes that decision she's going back and forth on her feelings for Vronsky and what to do about her ex-husband. Really? Make a fucking decision already. Of course the other characters go through their own drama which was slightly better because it actually went somewhere. Kitty and Levin's relationship was the best part of the book and wished it focused more. Never plan to read this book again. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
Angus and Robertson Top 100 (2006 - 2008) Book #82.
I was surprised when I read this book and enjoyed reading it. I did not anticipate liking this book. I never liked the character of Anna within the story, but there were plenty of other characters throughout the story that I did like. Tolstoy did lose my interest briefly when the story was lost sight of, to include information regarding politics of the time, but this was brief. Overall, it was an interesting novel to read. ( )
  amme_mr | May 5, 2015 |
Beautiful story, beautiful edition. Some people like Tolstoy, some do not. I find his characters and settings to be natural (given the social conditions of the time as I know it) and as I read his stories, I can often relate them to people I know. Despite the title and the films, there are actually two stories in parallel: Anna Karenina's fall and "Kostya" Levin's redemption. Most people like Anna's story best; I like Levin's story best. Perhaps because I have seen others, through one bad decision after another, follow her trajectory it can be infuriating to read. Many people in life, say "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" and yet are surprised when they are hit and their ship starts sinking. She is one of them.

Although their families and social circles are intertwined, the two characters rarely interact. At the start, we see Anna at her height of graciousness and beauty at a train station. Through the novel, Anna finds the pillars that had supported her world removed one by one as her continued bad decisions alienate those around her until all of her hope is lost. She descends into such pettiness that the lover who adored her could hardly stand her and she is alone, a social outcast. Her story ends "with a whisper" at a train station. Levin starts as an awkward and angry loner, but through a good marriage and conscientious efforts at managing his estate, he finds comfort and happiness. Levin's conscientious seeking for truth leads him to through the moments of crisis he encounters in his life. Through each crisis, he becomes a better man and he better appreciates the blessings in his life. Finally, threatened with the loss of these blessings at a moment of crisis, he finds the faith in God that he has argued and fought against through much of the book. Levin's conscientious seeking for truth leads him to be the best that he can be.

One thing I appreciate about writers of the period is that each chapter represents one scene and one point of view. Each book is well organized. Modern writers often merely insert an extra line when switching perspectives or settings, if they bother with that courtesy. ( )
  Hae-Yu | May 3, 2015 |
After an hour of this boring crap, I could not imagine listening to the other 29 hours.
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 386 (next | show all)
Each time I reread Anna Karenina, picking my way past the attics and cellars and rusting machinery of Tolstoy's obsessions and prejudices, a new layer of his craft emerges, to the point where, for all my admiration of Joyce, Beckett and Kelman, I begin to question whether the novel form isn't too artisanal a medium for the surface experimentation of the modernist project ever to transcend the flexing of space and time that apparently conventional language can achieve in the hands of a master.

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dole, Nathan HaskellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farrell, James T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallero, VíctorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginzburg , LeoneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gurin, Morris S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hašková, TatjanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horovitch, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huisman, WilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kool, Halbo C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leclée, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matulay, LaszloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, AylmerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, AylmerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, Louise ShanksTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pyykkö, LeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, MarianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Troyat, HenriIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volohonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Vengeance is mine; I will repay. ~ Deuteronomy 32:35
First words
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (C. Garnett, 1946) and (J. Carmichael, 1960)
Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему. Всё смешалось в доме Облонских.
All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
All happy families resemble one another, every unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. (N. H. Dole, 1886)
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Pevear, Volokhonsky, 2000)
"Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be." [Anna, p744 (2000)]
"He has long ceased loving me. And where love stops, hatred begins." [Anna, p763 (2000)]
Every minute of Alexei Alexandrovich's life was occupied and scheduled. And in order to have time to do what he had to do each day, he held to the strictest punctuality. 'Without haste and without rest' was his motto. [p109 (2000)]
Every man, knowing to the smallest detail all the complexity of the conditions surrounding him, involuntarily assumes that the complexity of these conditions and the difficulty of comprehending them are only his personal, accidental peculiarity, and never thinks that others are surrounded by the same complexity as he is. [p302 (2000)]
Vronsky meanwhile, despite the full realization of what he had desired for so long, was not fully happy. He soon felt that the realization of his desire had given him only a grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. It showed him the the eternal error people make in imagining that happiness is the realization of desires. [...] He soon felt arise in his soul a desire for desires, an anguish. [p465 (2000)]
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
This is the work for the complete Anna Karenina. Please do not combine with any of the works representing the individual volumes (see combination rules regarding part/whole issues for details), or with abridged versions. Thank you.

The original Russian title was “Анна Каренина”.

Please keep the Norton Critical Edition books un-combined with the rest of them - it is significantly different with thorough explanatory annotations, essays by other authors, and reviews by other authors. Thank you.
This is the work of Leo Tolstoy, not Henri Troyat.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143035002, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:46 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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 must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. While previous versions have softened the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This award-winning team's authoritative edition also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for generations to come.… (more)

» see all 37 descriptions

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28 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0451528611, 0140449175, 0141194324, 0141391898

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