Now for the book. I'm not including a summary, you may click on the Wikipedia link if you need one. I really didn't enjoy Anna Karenina very much. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. There are too many characters, and they each have two or three names. I had trouble keeping track.
2. Related to that, there are so many different (unimportant) tangents. If you are interested in Russian politics in the 1800s, this is your book. If we could have just had Anna's story and Kitty's story, I would have enjoyed it more. I know this is often described as "the best book ever written," but I guess I'm not cultured enough to see it.
3. Something is lost in the translation. The turns of phrase and weird affectations were too much for me. I really got tired of their dialog starting with "Well, and." Maybe that makes sense in Russian, but it's just bizarre in English. I was also annoyed at the many passages in French, that were not translated or explained.
4. The third-person point of view kept me very detached from the story. I normally don't have trouble with POVs, but in Anna Karenina, it affected my feelings towards the characters and the book in general.
5. I hated Anna. I guess I didn't have much sympathy for her slow descent into madness. She was just annoying, then all of a sudden, she's crazy. It happened too fast and therefore I didn't feel for her as I think Tolstoy wanted me to. Or maybe you are supposed to hate her. I never know how I'm supposed to feel when I read classic novels.
I feel accomplished that I actually read Anna Karenina. It is a story of Russian history, and I did learn quite a bit. I'm ready to watch the movie to see how it compares. I don't think it could be worse! I've chosen Les Misérables for my next Serial Read. You probably will see a review for that next New Year's Eve!
Published from 1873 to 1877 as a serial. First published in book form in 1878.
Copy obtained from Serial Reader
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