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Anna Karenina (Penguin Classics) Paperback – International Edition, December 31, 2002
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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.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have received honors for their translations...[this] contribution will doubtless be welcomed with equal enthusiasm. -- The San Diego Union-Tribune
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have...retain[ed] the flavor of [Tolstoy's] unique voice. -- Dallas Morning News
The first English translation in 40 years, [this] 'Anna Kerenina' is the most scrupulous, illuminating and compelling version yet. -- Portland Oregonian
We're fortunate to have this accessible version of [Tolstoy's]...most universal novel to attract a new generation of...readers. -- St. Louis Post Dispatch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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 was also having the same issue when I was looking for a specific translation of War and Peace. I mention this because if you're committing the time to read Tolstoy, it's worth it to take some time to learn about the different translators and choose which one you want to trust to take you through his novels. The problem is that Amazon is not making it easy to find the translation you're looking for.
I also downloaded a free edition, but when back and bought a 0.99 edition because the free one had no table of contents, and when you're reading a book as long as this one, the table of contents is helpful!