259 of 288 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful mosaic of interlinked stories ...
, June 1, 2004
This review is from: Anna Karenina (Paperback)
"Anna Karenina" (1873-7) is a book that could be compared to a beautiful mosaic of interlinked stories. Thanks to Tolstoy's book, we get to know characters who sometimes seem so real that we cannot help but living with them the series of events that are recounted in this book.
Who are the main characters?. Well, we might begin by telling something about Anna Karenina, the woman who gives this book its title. Anna is someone who has found some satisfaction in a marriage to a husband she doesn't love. Her life isn't exciting, but she is comfortable, and has a son that means everything to her. Her world will be shaken when a nobleman, Count Vronsky, falls in love with her. He pursuits Anna until he convinces her to become his lover, indulging in an adulterous affair. But... will he go on loving her, even after she risks all for him?. And did she do the right thing, by following her heart without thinking about the consequences of her actions?.
There are many more characters, but I would like to highlight one of them: Levin. Levin is a rather eccentric gentleman farmer, who worries about things like the meaning of life, and allows the reader to share with him the kind of doubts that many have had, but few voice. He ends up finding happiness, but his path is not easy, especially because he is prone to reflect on issues that cause him anguish. His story is linked at the beginning of the book to that of Anna and Vronsky because the woman he loves, Kitty Shcherbatskaya, thinks she loves Vronsky. However, as the story advances, you will probably end up comparing Anna and Vronsky's relationship to that of Kitty and Levin. One is all drama, and passion; the other, calm and contentment. Which one is better?. And according to whom?.
I want to point out how well Tolstoy depicted 19th century Russian society, especially the differences between social classes and how much hypocrisy permeated the moral codes of polite society. If you pay close attention you will notice that several themes also to be found in other classics are recurrent in "Anna Karenina". One of them is fate, and some of the others are the omnipresence of death, the meaning of life, and the power of faith. There are many more things I would like to say about this book, but I think you will do better if you start to read "Anna Karenina" right now, instead of spending more of your time reading a long review such as this one :)
On the whole, I highly recommend this book. It is one of those few books that don't allow you to remain indifferent. You might hate it or love it, but it will necessarily make you think about several important subjects, whilst reading a good story.
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