Tolstoy: Anna Karenina

ISBN: 0521313252
ISBN 13: 9780521313254
By: Anthony Thorlby

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About this book

This exploration of the subtle psychology in Tolstoy's characterization avoids complex terminology and assumes a readership studying the text in English translation.

Reader's Thoughts


I am so glad I revisited this book without an academic timeline. It is time-consuming, but definitely rewards patience to the very end.

Tracey Radick

Not as good as I expected. Really hard to finish.


Favorite book.

Katia Denysova

First read it back in my teen years, didn't get much out of it. Re-reading it now, in my early 20s, I was amazed how captivating such a long and notoriously detailed book can be. The parallel of the three families, the development of relationships between the spouses, gives an insightful idea of what love and family life can and cannot be. Yes, a lot has changed in society since the late 19th century, but the core feelings are pretty much the same. I wouldn't want to claim that I understand Anna, but the pride, sensitivity, wisdom, insight and intuition of this woman together with her neurotic inclinations and hysteric outbursts did resonate with my own feelings and got under my skin. Wouldn't recommend reading the book if you are slightly down yourself.

Shawn N

The final pages of Leo Tolsoy's 'Anna Karenina' are breathtaking, as timeless as they are meaningful. From society's revelation to a desperate and hateful Anna that all societal constructs, all traditions and fads -- religion, politics, class, education, marriage, gender, etc. -- are constructs of vanity, to Levin's pseudo-religious submission to an almost Kantian authority existing independently of those same constructs, these last pages prove worth the long and tragic, but ultimately redeeming, haul.


I am actually reading the full copy of Anna Karenina! About half-way through the 800+ page book. The writing is equisite and the translators have done a wonderful job of keeping his voice throughout the novel!


Russian literature is not my favorite, so this rating might be biased. I didn't mind the ending (which is not normal for Russian media)-it was actually a nice ending. I mean the end ending, not the part when Anna's role in the story ends. There are some things to like in this book. I enjoyed Levin's "conversion". I thought Tolstoy's description of the feelings accompanying communion with God was just exquisitely done. There were a lot of good insights into human nature altogether. I found the juxtaposition of Anna's and Kitty/Levin's stories significant. But overall I couldn't tell what the book was really supposed to be about. I guess I like to walk away with some coherent theme. A lot of it was just like-Uh...OK. And there was a lot of discussion of Russian farming, politics that went on a little long.

Stacy Daniel

Yes, it's a "classic" and I realize that its supposed to be against some unwritten code to openly admit to hating a classic. But to my credibility, this was my second attempt at not hating it. I read it once as a teen and hated it then, so I thought maybe as an adult, experience and wisdom would let me read it through different eyes. Nope. Still hate it. It is just such typical Tolstoy: "Oh how I want what I shouldn't touch, but to hell with the consequences because I just cant help myself." To immediately after: "Gasp! We are doomed to hell; we shouldn't have done that! My life is ruined because I couldn't control my sexual desires so now I should just lay my head on this railroad track..." blah blah, blah. Honestly, I have never understood the hype over Tolstoy. I understand the era that wrought the double standard for women and premarital sex, but personally I just think this story was so repetitive, and dragged on and on and on like only Tolstoy could do. I'm convinced he had a serious ego problem and just liked to hear himself ramble on. This was the second book of his I tried, and the second attempt at this particular one...and well I guess this time was a "shame on me" scenario.

Jessica ~The book lover~

It's a very long book. But better to read it then to watch the dvd, which misses out a lot of things. Some say it's confusing to remember all the characters, but personally I thought it was easy. It's not excactly light reading at some points.


This was one of the hardest book for me to read. The writing was great it was just long and I found much of the detail irrelevant except in helping you to understand the depth of some of the characters. I have always wanted to read it and am glad I did, if you feel so inclined just be prepared to give it time. I'm sure that it should get more stars, after all it is Tolstoy, I gave it three because I wouldn't be wanting to pick it up any time soon.


All time favorite! One that I always go back to.

Fiona Campbell

This book took me ages to read, but I am honestly glad I did. I felt in some parts Tolstoy spent pages and pages describing detail of things of little significance, yet in some parts, he conveyed a lot while saying very little. I enjoyed this writing style more than anything else, I feel, but it was still pretty hard for me to read/understand. Definitely going to re-read at some point.Favorite quote (I don't know why): "He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun- yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking."

Diana Doyle

Like a lot of old classics, this was long and wordy. Good book though.


favorite book of all time

Michaela Gibalová

This is a novel about power of woman and thinking of society in Russia in the century. The novel describes destiny of three families: Anne´s family, her brother´s family and Levin´s family. Every one of those families is diferrent, but with interesting opinion on life.

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