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.

Brenda Verno

Tolstoy is the master of of character building. Although I already knew the ending, I was completely engaged in everyone's story throughout.

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.

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

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.

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.

Anand Surendar

Speaks of so much more than the affair


Well I mean, you probably aren't going into this book blind. And if you are going to set aside enough time to develop a monogamous relationship with it, I hope you like things that make you sad. Especially if you are a woman.There, I said it. This book makes you sad to be a woman.


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


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.


favorite book of all time


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.

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.

Tracey Radick

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



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