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

Tracey Radick

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


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.

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.

Anand Surendar

Speaks of so much more than the affair


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!

Diana Doyle

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


favorite book of all time

Leaza Cowan

Good but slow!

Michel Winant

Wow, what a book ... had this on my bedside table for years as the length of this book scared me a bit. Read it in English as the Dutch translation I had was horrible. It is my first Tolstoi (even my first Russian classic but it won't be my last) Absolutely adored this book which read as a Russian soap opera with as main theme: how do we find happiness? Through Levin, Anna, and a host of supporting characters, we see several approaches to happiness. Levin searches for fulfillment through work; Anna and Vronsky through love; Alexey Alexandrovitch through duty; Stiva through superficial amusements; and Dolly through her children. Almost all of them fail to find permanent, complete happiness. This failure leads to death in some cases and reluctant acceptance in others


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.


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

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."

Eddie Mochon

Fabuloso, en este hermoso clasico, nuevamente se descubre la grandiosidad y claridad de tolstoy, en estas paginas el ser humano es observado y descrito con minuciosidad, es desnudado por completo para revelar sus mas intimos temores y conflictos. Tolstoy nos deleita insertando a la literatura el conflicto de la pasion humana.

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