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Anna Karenina (Penguin Classics) Paperback – International Edition, December 31, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Pevear and Volokhonsky, winners of the 1991 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, have produced the first new translation of Leo Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina in 40 years. The result should make the book accessible to a new generation of readers. In an informative introduction, Pevear gives the reader a history of the work Tolstoy called his first true novel and which took him some four years to write. Pevear explains how Tolstoy took real events, incorporated them into his novel, and went through several versions before this tale of the married Anna and her love for Count Vronsky emerged in its final form in 1876. It was during the writing of the book that Tolstoy went through a religious crisis in his life, which is reflected in this novel. The translation is easily readable and succeeds in bringing Tolstoy's masterpiece to life once again. For all libraries. Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"One of the greatest love stories in world literature."
--Vladimir Nabokov --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449174
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) wrote two of the great novels of the nineteenth century, War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

263 of 288 people found the following review helpful By Thomas R. Gillett on March 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this is the translation to read -- every sentence has been carefully thought through: a translation you could only get from a native-born Russian (Larissa Volokhonskaya) and an English-speaking person (an American, Richard Pevear, her husband) working together, with a native ear for BOTH languages. The prose just flows -- to the point I was hardly are conscious of reading a translation (the highest compliment). My wife (Russian) likes this English-language version so much she has read part of it, first out of curiousity just to see how good a translation can be, then for the pleasure of the English prose. She says Tolstoy in the original is better and since I can read some Russian, I agree. There are some words, expressions that are, after all, untranslatable -- maybe you can find a literally equivalent word, but not an emotionally equivalent one. So study your Russian (I intend to) and maybe someday read the orignial. Meanwhile, there's this. A great classic and a tour de force translation that just rings true on every page.
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138 of 154 people found the following review helpful By MOVIE MAVEN on April 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
In my sophomore year of college, I was assigned ANNA KARENINA to be read in one week. ONE WEEK! Somehow I did it and it changed my life. I came back to the Tolstoy novel in the summer between my sophomore and junior years and then again in grad school. I just finished reading it for the fourth time.
Everything you've heard and read about ANNA KARENINA is true. It is one of the finest, subtlest, most exciting, most romantic, truest, most daring, charming, witty and altogether moving experiences anyone can have. And you don't have to slog through pages and chapters to find the truth and beauty. It's right there from the first, famous sentence: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
This new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is wonderful and deserves your attention even if you already have a favorite version of the book. Pevear and Volokhonsky are considered "the premiere translators of Russian literature into English of our day." Working, as I do, in the Theatre, I hope they take on some of Turgenev's plays.
Anyone who believes in the power of Art, especially Literature, must buy and read this book. I promise it can change your life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Gregory N. Hullender on September 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This Edition, Pevear and Volokhonsky (Viking 2001), supposedly renders Tolstoy's Russian more faithfully than earlier ones, which attempted to "soften" him a bit for Western sensibilities. I actually bought this for a class, and my teacher, who reads it in the Russian, simply couldn't praise the translation enough, so if you're determined to read Anna Karenina already, you should probably get this edition.
As for the story, I found that the 800 pages just melted away. Long doesn't mean hard, after all, and I was sorry to see it end, to tell the truth.
The story revolves around seven different people in 1870s Russia. Superficially, it tells how Anna Karenina left her husband for another man, destroying her family, how Stiva Oblonsky ruined his family without leaving it, and how Konstantin Levin courted Kitty Shcherbatsky and they built a new family together.
Although it's enjoyable even on the superficial level, Anna Karenina rewards careful study, revealing intricate structure and interlocking symbolism throughout. Tolstoy thought it was his best work; critics have called it one of the best novels ever written; don't miss it.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." That line opens and sets the tone of "Anna Karenina," a tangled and tragic tale of nineteenth century Russia. Tolstoy's story of lovers and family is interlaced with razor-sharp social commentary and odd moments that are almost transcendent. In other words, this is a masterpiece.

When Stepan Oblonsky has an affair with the governess, his wife says that she's leaving him, and now the family is about to disintegrate. Stepan's sister Anna arrives to smooth over their marital problems, and consoles his wife Dolly until she agrees to stay. But on the train there, she met the outspoken Countess Vronsky, and the countess's dashing son, who is semi-engaged to Dolly's sister Kitty.

Anna and Vronsky start to fall in love -- despite the fact that Anna has been married for ten years, to a wealthy husband she doesn't care about, and has a young son. Even so, Anna rejects her loveless marriage and becomes the center of scandal and public hypocrisy, and even becomes pregnany by Vronsky. As she prepares to jump ship and get a divorce, Anna becomes a victim of her own passions...

That isn't the entire story, actually -- Tolstoy weaves in other plots, about disintegrating families, new marriages, and the melancholy Levin's constant search for God, truth, and goodness. Despite the grim storyline about adultery, and the social commentary, there's an almost transcendent quality to some of Tolstoy's writing. It's the most optimistic tragic book I've ever read.

For some reason, Tolstoy called this his "first novel," even though he had already written some before that. Perhaps it's because "Anna Karenina" tackles so many questions and themes, and does so without ever dropping the ball.
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