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Anna Karenina (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – October 10, 2000
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One thing that really amazed me was how well Tolstoy could switch between different characters and settings. Everyone had distinct personalities and the way they were all portrayed was with so much compassion and understanding that as a reader I could really see parts of myself in everyone. There was no one character that I related to more than any other. I was able to relate to every single one of them differently. I believe this is the reason Tolstoy is considered a master.
The pace of the book is a little slow for me because I'm a slow reader, but in retrospect I feel like the pace was actually pretty good and it only felt slow because I had absolutely no idea where the story was going. Every chapter had something new happening and the story just strolled right along. Probably like riding a tractor for 50 miles. You've got plenty of time to look at all the flowers and clouds and barns and animals along the way, it takes forever, but it never stops moving.
It helped a lot to have this book on my kindle because towards the end there was more and more french that was easy to translate with the kindle. The port to the kindle was perfect. I saw no strange spacing or oddly misspelled words.
Overall I recommend giving this book a shot. Don't be discouraged by the length. I realize a reader may feel compelled to read this particular book just so they can say that they did. It's got that trophy book status. I feel like that's a bad thing though. If you find yourself a few hundred pages in and are interested in what's going on, then keep going. If however after a few hundred pages you feel like it's a chore to read, then don't bother, it's not going to suddenly become more interesting after any point in the book. It's very consistent, you can trust this author and the translation, the ending won't let you down, there will be no long lulls. What you get in the beginning is what you get through the entire book, it's very steady and very high quality writing.
I'm glad I read it but it brings me to wonder what the fuss is all about.
Tolstoy takes the reader on a journey through converging storylines that all bring the reader to feel deeply connected with the characters.
The only reason I am docking it one start is because it should have had subtitles! There was so much french in the book that I completely skipped over complete paragraphs because I just didn't want to look up every word online while I was lying in bed. The story is great, the version I read needed a french translator.
I finally finished this a couple weeks ago, definitely worth all of the drudgery! Myself being from the USA, the Russian authors do not make it particularly easy. One character in a book (one person in real life) can have so many names, it gets a bit confusing at times! OK, downright frustrating! The story is very captivating. The character development Tolstoy lays Anna's world out bare for you to look at. I had just finished The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky when I started this book, and now looking at when they were written, I understand why their are some similarities. I may try to find a copy of the movie, I may not. I always have a different picture of what the characters look like in my mind than who a studio picks. I might be very disappointed to see Anna and Seryozha! Tolstoy paints a magnificent one in this book! If I may be so bold, the climax and, for lack of a better word, epilogue were almost a disappointment. Nuanced yes. Understated, possibly? Maybe I like big finishes or tricky finishes too much (Hollywood.) Still highly recommended to all!