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on January 16, 1999
I started reading this book as a challenge to myself...and found myself getting completely caught up in its fascinating characters and fast-moving plotlines. The story is timeless (although a background in 19th century Russian history would have made some of the political themes and the social pressures felt by the characters more meaningful to me). Its so easy to be captivated by the characters. At times they are so flawed and so disillusioned that you want to jump inside the pages and kick some sense into them! But this was a wonderful novel--don't be frightened by its length!!
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on June 4, 2012
This is one of my favorite books of all times. It's a book I read in college and have returned to numerous times, just to savor the beautiful writing. No one compares to Tolstoy. I'd read somewhere that after he'd finished this book, he'd thrown it out because he hadn't known what he'd written. His wife pulled it out of the trash and saved it because its writing so deeply moved her as a woman. I think this book speaks to hard choices women have had to make throughout history, and to the responsibility men have of protecting and standing by the women in their lives. It's a beautiful book, one that still resonates deeply within me every time I read it.
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on September 15, 2010
In 2004 CRW released an abridged version of Anna Karenina in the Collector's library -a collection of very small well-made hardbacks. Most of their offerings in the collection are unabridged but there was the occasional title which would seem to be too large for the small 4x6 format. At some point they decided to go ahead and publish longer works uncut and nice fat little volumes of some of Dickens' novels appeared. Later an entire Don Quixote appeared but with a smaller print than other books in the collection.

This year (2010), to my delight, they decided to re-release Anna Karenina unabridged in honor of the 100th anniversary of Tolstoy's death. It's a nice thick little volume. I am happy they decided to go with the standard sized print.

The translation is the Maude. If you're going to buy the Maude and not a newer translation, this is THE edition to get. It has a cloth cover, ribbon marker, gilded page edges and a sturdy sewn binding. It's a very well made book that is smaller than the cheapo paperbacks. I was contemplating buying an Everyman's Library edition until I learned they were coming out with it in this collection.

Small is definitely beautiful.
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on May 15, 2012
I have just finished `Anna Karenina', for the first time. Recently I read `War and Peace', for the first time since boyhood.

Both novels completely blew me away. War and Peace is more enjoyable, for me the characters are much more likeable. I didn't really warm to any of the characters in Anna, and for me the territory explored by the novel, set in late nineteenth century Russia, is much more difficult. War and Peace is a war story with splendid characters, and with them a celebration of the spirit of Russia and a meditation on politics, leadership, and such philosophical considerations as free will and so on. Anna Karenina, on the other hand, is a discussion of the intricacies of marriage and relationships with a comprehensiveness only rivalled in my reading by Doris Lessing's `Golden Notebook'. Lessing incidentally admires the nineteenth century novel and works from its traditions. Tolstoy is interested in the effects of social attitudes to divorce and the context both of Christianity both personal and schematic and also the influence of modern intellectual attitudes.

As I say, Tolstoy's approach, like Lessing's, is rigorous and comprehensive, and both courageous and confident.

To say that this novel gave me food for thought , at the age of 62, is an understatement.

Incidentally I read the Magarshack transation in Signet which I quite liked, it flows well. However there are no notes and no translations of the French and occasional German in the text. Also I didn't find the academic introduction of much interest.
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on July 18, 2016
I read Anna Karenina a few years ago because I wanted to try something from the Russian writers. I did not expect to get so completely caught up in such a beautifully written story. The thing that touched me most deeply was his handling of Anna's depression. He resisted the trap so many authors even today fall into of describing it as sadness only. Most of her bad days were spent being irritable and anxious, 2 very real manifestations of depression. I found it amazing that he had that kind of insight in the 19th century! When I saw that Audible had released it with Maggie Gyllenhaal performing it, I almost regretted not waiting, but not really. I loved her performance of The Bell Jar, and may just have to get Anna too.
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on July 16, 2016
Now I know why I never finished this book when I tried to read it in my 20s. Very long, drawn out and I really didn't care if I knew the ending about halfway through. If it hadn't been for getting Audible I never would have finished it. I know many love this story, it just was not for me.
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on October 13, 2014
Anna Karenina was wonderful, an automatic page turner, I couldn't put the book down! This book goes deep into people's emotions, needs and desires. This book was very long but is still a good read that tells a story of love and courage, it gets the reader wondering what will come of everyones lives, what will happen next?Tolstoy is a phenomenal writer and just knows how to use ordinary events and characters to examine war, religion, feminism and any other things. His work is very characterized by a not so complicated style of writing and his work has deep insight into human nature. If you Like The Scarlet Letter, You'll Love Anna Karenina even more.
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VINE VOICEon May 23, 2012
Anna, a married woman, possibly `a woman ahead of her time', falls in love with another man. In her aristocratic society of 19th century Russia, this is not acceptable. This situation develops into an interesting storyline, but there are many other characters to follow. I preferred the secondary storyline involving the philosophical Levin. Levin, a landowner who is very much involved in the labor on his land, `marches to a different drum' and follows his heart. Now that's a storyline!

Part historical novel, part love story, part philosophical novel, this novel gives an accurate portrayal of Russian society during the 1800's. In that, it is valuable.

As fiction, I did not find it significant. There were many dead ends in the story lines, and there were many details added that I did not find necessary. However, it does have its place in the classics. I must admit that I prefer Dostoevsky, though.
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on November 30, 2014
I originally wanted this version b/c it was "enhanced". Which meant 3 or 4 pictures scattered throughout the book. The payoff was that there were 4 or 5 chapters that were duplicated. i.e. Chapter 133 is a repeat of chapter 132 with the real text of chapter 133 missing. I should have given up earlier and downloaded a version from Gutenberg.
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on June 24, 2012
I love this book. It is my favorite. Yes, it is long; my favorite translation is 817 pages. But, don't let this scare you. I was kinda nervous to tackle such an intense classic when I first recieved it as a gift many years ago and I put off starting it for many weeks. But, once I opened to page one, I lost all track of time and space. That's what the best books do to you, am I right? Tolstoy introduces you to a host of characters: some to love, some to hate, but most to pity. As mentioned by another reviewer, there are many similarities between Tolstoy's life experiences and this book, especially concerning Levin. In short, please read it! Tolstoy is a master above all others and this is the book of his collection you should start with. Plus, the kindle version is free so nothing's stopping you! (Be warned: you'll want your own copy once you're finished.)
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