Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Written by Leo Tolstoy

Narrated by Alfred Molina


Anna Karenina

Written by Leo Tolstoy

Narrated by Alfred Molina

ratings:
4/5 (242 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Released:
Dec 14, 2006
ISBN:
9781598872620
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

When beautiful, aristocratic, and married Anna falls madly in love with the dashing Count Vronsky, their affair shocks Russian society, tears her family apart, and leads, inevitably, to tragedy. Count Leo Tolstoy's epic story of passion, infidelity, vengeance, and retribution has held readers spellbound since it was first published in the late 1800s. Set against the fatal attraction of Anna and Vronsky, unfolding in perfect symmetry, is another love story: of the melancholy nobleman Constantin Levin and his devoted wife, Kitty. In doubt about the meaning of life, haunted by thoughts of suicide, Levin's struggles echo Tolstoy's own spiritual crisis.



Filled with unforgettable characters, rich in history and social realism, Anna Karenina is a masterpiece of world literature, a story that fires the imagination and touches the heart.
Released:
Dec 14, 2006
ISBN:
9781598872620
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is the author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and other classics of Russian literature.

Related to Anna Karenina

Related Audiobooks
Related Articles

Reviews

What people think about Anna Karenina

4.1
242 ratings / 271 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I saw the movie and thought I would listen to the book. Very enjoyable as an audiobook although very long so it was great for painting my walls. The narrator does a fantastic job with the emotions of the characters. A very good classic.
  • (4/5)
    First, I started this book 4ish years ago. I would read a chunk of it, than stop for awhile, and pick it up a few months later. Its not an easy read - mostly because it seems like the names keep changing. I understand, what a person in Russia is called is dependent on the relationship, but its difficult. It took me awhile to figure it out. It also helped that the last third of the book had less characters. It would have helped to have a list of full names for the characters. Its a difficult book, but the pay off is immense if you can stick with it.This next part has spoilers, so, read at your own risk.Anne Karenina isn't necessarily about Anna - although the other characters revolve around her. This is a story about relationships. Good relationships, bad relationships and how society views relationships depending on gender. Anna is bored wife of a bureaucrat. Her husband provides for her, and lets her do her own thing, he doesn't make her a part of his life, basically ignoring her until he needs her presence. Anna is intelligent, beautiful, and make a whole room light up when she walks in. When she meets a military man named Vronsky, her whole world is turned upside down. He is a cad, leading young women on, and than dropping them as soon as he looses interest. But, Anna seduces him - even after she denies him, he continue to pursue and eventually Anna gives in. Her husband tries to make it work, but the allure of Vronsky calls - Anna eventually leaves him for Vronsky. But, Anna is still not free. Until she is granted a divorce, she is only a mistress and is ostracized from society, living a lonelier life than before. Eventually, this gets to her and she commits suicide by throwing herself before a train.The next couple is Dotty and Oblansky. Oblansky is Anna's brother, and like to spend money, dote on ballerina's, and gamble. Dotty holds the family together - making sure that there is money for the most basic of upper-class necessities. She considers divorcee him a number of times throughout the book, but it would leave her in a similar state as Anna, even though she would be in the right of the law.The last couple is Kitty and Levin. Kitty is Dotty's sister, and she was the young girl Vronsky led on right before Anna. Kitty ends up sick from the whole experience, but ultimately recovers when Levin ultimately proposes to her. They are the perfect couple, in love, and able to talk through problems, understanding each other's personalities, the good and the bad. These three couples form the core of what Anna Karenina is about. There is also a large parts of the book devoted to Levin's thoughts about peasantry, land management, pointlessness of the upper-class life in Moscow, and belief in God. I'm still pondering what this adds to the book, because it seems not to add anything, and at times, its overwritten and tends to ramble. I do think Levin is based off of Tolstoy and his life, but large chunks of this could have been removed to no effect of the rest.
  • (4/5)
    One of the best things about being a Russian aristocrat has got to be that you can just stop your carriage alongside any field and yell at a random peasant and they will drop whatever dumb peasant job they’re doing and run off to do whatever thing you yell at them to do. “You there! You! Run ahead to the manor and inform the Count’s groom that I wish him to make ready the stables.”“Riiiight. And just who the hell are you?”But they never say that! They just run ahead to make sure the stables are ready. Fantastic.Reading Anna Karenina was part of my reinvigorated program to grab something on my shelf that I’d been meaning to read and just read the bastard, fifty pages a day until it’s done. It's sublime.This is the mastery of Tolstoy: In a thousand pages of interpersonal failures, slights, feuds, marriages, love affairs, elections, engagements, spa treatments, farming, and philosophical banter, with every human virtue and vice on display, he never once tips his hand and telegraphs what we are supposed to think about a character. They are fully-realized human figures, and all you can do is experience and feel with them. If you’re going to judge them for good or ill, you do it on your own. He doesn’t do any of that for you.
  • (5/5)
    I read this many, many years ago and always wanted to re-visit it. Suspecting there were too many other books ahead on my list I chose to download the audio version from my library. Upon first reading I was fascinated by the intricacies of social life as described by Tolstoy. This time around what impressed me was the timelessness of his writing. The characters seem as real as those in any modern novel. The social conventions and political discussions were still interesting but it was the characters lives that remained front and center this time around.
  • (4/5)
    Tolstoy’s greatest novel, what some deem the greatest novel ever written, seems to ‘proceed as plotlessly and accidentally as life itself’ (E. B. Greenwood, Introduction to Anna Karenina, p. xii). Tolstoy contrasts two people of different character and temperament both of whom we squirm, flinch and weep in response to their actions. Anna lives for her own needs, passions and freedom. Levin lives for the good of others and his soul. In this way Anna and her affair with Vronsky depicts so outstandingly what modern philosophers call expressive individualism, where being true to our authentic self by expressing our deepest desires and acting on them is heroic. The Tolstoy critic Andrew Kaufman says in an interview that the 1860s were a time of great transition in Russia whereby the more traditional value system was being replaced by a new value systems. Tolstoy watched his friends and family members were getting divorced at alarming numbers. And this concerned him because in his view, the family is one of the key social units. And when families fall apart, he believed societies begin to fall apart. This is a central theme in Anna Karenina. Tolstoy heard people saying, "maybe marriage isn't the be all and end all of life. Maybe even if you do get married, not having kids might lead to a greater happiness." And, and of course, this is something that's very much echoed in today's world. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy shows that the problem with these arguments is that they come from a false set of assumptions: This idea that more freedom means more fulfillment, that the gratification of one's personal desires, leads to more happiness. Tolstoy came to the opposite conclusion; that in many cases, less freedom can lead to a more abiding happiness because it forces us to make choices to make hard choices, and to commit to those choices with the fullness of our being. And family life is the ultimate embodiment of making those kinds of choices, of limiting our freedom for the sake of love. And so it is the characters who embrace the duties, the pain, the vulnerability of family life—of fatherhood, motherhood, being a son, being a daughter—those are often the characters who in the end, end up achieving the deepest kind of fulfillment.Kaufman gives an example from Tolstoy's own life. While writing War and Peace, he used a very interesting metaphor to describe what he was like before he got married, and what he's like now. It was the metaphor of an apple tree that he described himself as. An apple tree, that once sprouted in all different directions. But 'now, that it’s trimmed, tied, and supported, its trunk and roots can grow without hindrance.' It's a very powerful image. At the heart of it is this idea that sometimes limits are what allow us to grow more fully. And limits are actually what allow us to realise our fullest human potential.So according to Tolstoy a life like Anna's, which looks so romantic and promising, usually ends in tragedy. The reversal of fortunes is shown when Anna and Kitty are contrasted by Dolly (Kitty's sister): “‘How happily it turned out for Kitty that Anna came,’ said Dolly, ‘and how unhappily for her! The exact reverse,’ she added, struck by her thought. ‘Then Anna was so happy and Kitty considered herself miserable. Now it’s the exact reverse.’” (p. 551)Anna becomes a slave to her love/lust for Vronsky and finds herself trapped without access to her son, with excessively jealous of Vronksy, and unable to live without his enmeshed love.Tolstoy contrasts Anna's persist of freedom to desire what she wants to Levin's. Upon his engagement to Kitty, Levin's brother and friends question him about the loss of freedom he will experience when he is married. Levin replies, “‘What is the good of freedom? Happiness consists only in loving and desiring: in wishing her wishes and in thinking her thoughts, which means having no freedom whatever; that is happiness!’” (p. 442). Levin’s desire is not possessive self serving eros (like Anna’s), but generous other-centred agape. The result is that while Levin’s life is not easy, although there is doubt and jealousy and fear and conflict, there nevertheless is true freedom, fulfilment and happiness. He is not enslaved but a servant of love and goodness. I found the book long and tedious at points but I suppose that is because Tolstoy so wants us to “love life in all its countless, inexhaustible manifestations”. He packs in so much of life into the 806 pages, not just in the grand moments but also in the ordinary ones. The result is that you end up on a journey through 19th century Russia, a place and time I have now lived vicariously through. But Tolstoy also takes you on a journey to the very heart of human experience. The plot changes don’t come quickly. Instead Tolstoy spends significant time taking you into the mind and heart of all these different kinds of characters: nobels and peasants, philosophers and farmers, men and women, the promiscuous and duty-bound. Tolstoy draws you in to empathise with all these as you realise you share their same hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, temptations and regrets. The conversions of Karenin, Anna and Levin all demand attention. I am not sure Tolstoy ever really grasps the nature of the gospel of grace. He comes close at points but never really gets there. The closest we get is Karenin’s forgiveness of Anna, Anna’s cry for forgiveness at her death, and Levin’s humble recognition of the gift and goodness of life.I think this novel is like the book of Ecclesiastes: it teaches us about life under the sun and concludes that the meaning of life is “to live for God, to the soul” (p. 785). or as Solomon says, "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?" (Eccl 2:24–25)Yes this is the meaning of life, but what does that look like? And how is atonement possible when we fail. Tolstoy raises this question superbly, hints at an answer, but in many ways it's still a mystery. For a clear answer we must turn to the Gospels or perhaps to the novels of Dostoevsky who perhaps understood better the gospel of grace.
  • (5/5)
    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So begins this novel, with one of it’s most famous lines, but only one of many in which the author makes broad and though-provoking statements about human nature. Anna Karenina is a study of relationships, love, and adultery - especially Anna’s passionate affair with Count Vronsky. This simple description of the plot, however, hides the truly staggering depth of the novel. Along with Vronsky and Anna’s relationship, the many other romantic relationships presented raise questions about the nature of love; about the way society views men and women differently for their romantic choices; and about what it means to be happy.The writing in this book was a pleasure to read, one of those books were you savor the sentences. The author is often funny, dry, or witty in his insights into human nature. The characters are all amazingly well developed, with both good and bad qualities and believable motivations. Even when characters don’t seem very sympathetic at first, Tolstoy does an incredibly job pulling you into each character’s world view and making you feel for them. The relationships are as complex as the characters and could be difficult to follow. Fortunately, Tolstoy introduces characters clearly and slowly so his readers can keep up. My only complaint would be that he often uses full names, titles, and Russian nicknames for characters, which does make it harder to keep track of who is who.One complaint you’ll often hear about this novel, is that Tolstoy enjoys his digressions. There are hunting expeditions, local elections, and so many character’s philosophical musings, none of which advance the romantic plots that pulled me in. Some of these didn’t bother me, since I enjoyed the book for the author’s study of human nature. Still, I was going to give this novel four stars for the philosophical discussions of things that interest me less than love and relationships, such as the Russian economy. But when I sat down to write the description, I realized that this was a novel so good, I didn’t feel I could do it justice in my description. Anna’s bravery and passion for life captured my heart, as she has the hearts of so many others. Read this one for the characters, the commentary on life, but mostly for the experience of meeting Anna because no one but Tolstoy can really do her justice.
  • (4/5)
    (Original Review, 1981-02-24)If you're not familiar with the The Orthodox Church's intricacies, don't bother reading the novel. It might also to understand the social context in which Anna Karenina is set, which Tolstoy doesn't explain because he was writing for fellow members of the Orthodox Church who would have understood the particular nuances. For Russian society at the time, an immoral act was one that offended all Creation and therefore God himself - it is quite common for Russian priests even now to admonish those confessing to serious sins by telling them that they are 'spitting in Christ's face'. Yet there are subtleties to Anna's predicament that are probably lost on Westerners: unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which forbids divorce for any reason, the Orthodox Church permits this where a marriage has irrevocably broken down, on the basis that it was never based on true love in the first place and thus null and void. So in the novel it is only Karenin's pride (which for the Orthodox is the greatest sin of all) that stands in the way of dissolving his tragically unhappy marriage. Anna's action challenges the hypocrisy of society and she brings down the anger of the hypocrites upon herself because she has the barefaced cheek to expect people to behave towards her as they did before her "fall" from grace. Her "friends", such as the poisonous Princess Betsy, desert her because she is an uncomfortable reminder of their own failings.In fact, I'd go a little further and suggest that the absence of clearly defined mores has led to the proliferation of petty judgementalism infiltrating every aspect of life. It's like Jacques Lacan said about Dostoyevsky's famous quote, ('If God is dead, everything is permitted'), accurately turning it around to say "If God is dead, nothing is permitted." And so we all throw the first stone at one another...The great Victorian judge and political philosopher James Fitzjames Stephen said that the main deterrent to crime is not the law, but public opinion. He was right. One of the reasons Arab countries have such a low crime rate is that a thief would be shunned by his family and wider community. The most judgmental people I know are self-described non-judgmentalists: they hate (straightforwardly) judgmental people, i.e. people with personalities, who don't have to cling on to PC BS in order to create a persona for themselves.PS. Something I didn't know until recently was that Vronsky, like Levin, was based on Tolstoy's own experiences. He represented Tolstoy's own shallow, artificial lifestyle that he gave up and was ashamed of. Vronsky is mature, attractive and amoral. He sees nothing wrong with pursuing a married woman because society's hypocrisy allows for that, but he gets in deeper than he intended. Not the deepest of characters, but Vronsky's casting in this film was absolutely ridiculous.
  • (5/5)
    Truly one of the benchmarks against which any work of fiction may be measured. I got so much out of a second reading that I missed in the first pass...age and experience changes the book.
  • (5/5)
    Beautifully written.
  • (4/5)
    I have my own personal category for certain types of novels: "Stupid People Doing Stupid Things, and Why Should I Care?" The characters in Anna Karenina mostly fall into this category, still, somehow, Tolstoy makes the novel interesting. Levin and Kitty are pretty much the only characters who are sympathetic. Anna Karenina is totally self-absorbed and self-pitying. I felt no pity whatsoever for her. I realize Tolstoy was making social statements about Russian culture at that time, but it might have worked better if Anna was a better person who was victimized by society and fought bravely rather than being pretty much a basket case. SPOILER ALERT:When Anna comitted suicide, I didn't care, was glad to get this character out of the novel.The translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is suberb. Years ago, when I was 14 I read War and Peace, translated by Louise and Alymer Maude with a forward by Clifton Fadiman. That was a good translation as well. Later, in my 30s, I tried to read War and Peace again, the Constance Garnett translation. It was, for me at least, pretty bad. A few years ago I bought War and Peace, the Pevear and Volokhonsky version and expect that to be a fine translation when I try reading the novel again.
  • (2/5)
    This book was not for me! I listened to the audio book and had to check it out multiple times in order to get through it. I even sped up the track to get through it faster. I didn't like any of the characters and I didn't enjoy any of the politics. I know some people love this book but, again, it wasn't for me. I pushed through it just because it is on the "Must Read" lists.
  • (2/5)
    I think that somewhere among the endless digressions there is a plot but don’t ask me to summarise it because I can’t remember.I do recall the occasional scene that interested me, hence why I’ve rated it two stars instead of one, but in a book of this epic length, “occasional” interest is pretty lame.I remember being irritated by the amount of characters that kept being introduced for no real purpose and how slow-paced the narrative is. Most readers may consider this a classic, but I like something with a small cast of vivid characters and a definitive plot, not passive prose, excess characters, and boring digressions that are designed for the author’s satisfaction.
  • (3/5)
    So i did like it but was not a book that blew me away. This was another story written for the rich of the times since they were the only ones who could read. However; i loved the build up of characters and truly got to know some of them in a very deep way. Was also interesting to find out what Russia was like before communism set in. Tolstoy's writing is wonderful; but the story just wasn't one that gabbed me.
  • (5/5)
    great way to kick off '09. loved it. probably in my top 10 favorite books ever if i kept a list like that..
  • (3/5)
    ** spoiler alert ** We all know Tolstoy could write. His prose is beautiful, giving you glimpses into the minds and feelings of his characters and creating settings that feel real and tangible. The narrative builds in an engaging and entertaining way with progressions that make sense and seem realistic, even at our historical remove.That being said: my goodness, this book was unwieldy. I blazed through the first half and then slowly dragged my way through the rest. Excellent writing only carries me so far, particularly when I find it so difficult to connect with any of the characters in a serious way. Levin was endlessly irritating and self-important. Anna is an immensely sympathetic character, her internal monologue is one of the most realistic representations of severe depression I’ve ever read. That being said, I find it hard not to feel Vronsky and Anna are the architects of their own destruction. I guess that’s the point, but I still struggled with them both.I hated the decision to continue the book after Anna’s death. I couldn’t help but feel the emotional impact of her death was lost by refocusing on Levin. Those final chapters feel superfluous and disruptive to the symmetry of the story. Frankly, it seems a disservice to Anna. To me, the book is her narrative and closing it out with her last thoughts would have been a more appropriate conclusion to the story that bears her name.
  • (4/5)
    If your only acquaintance with Anna Karenina in the movies, just be aware that she is NOT the heroine of this very long book. Anna is the example of what a woman should bot be.. Instead, the real heroine is Princess Kitty, the young woman who is initially in love with Count Vronsky, but ultimately marries Levin who is clearly Tolstoy's alter ego as Tolstoy has Levin spouting page after page of Tolstoy's own half-baked theories on the superiority of rural over urban life and the superiority of the peasants over the aristocrats.Kitty comes to realize that she needs to exchange her city luxuries for the simpler country life and in caring for Levin's tubercular. brother at the end of his life, Levin comes to recognize her superior nature.Anna, in her obsessive love of Vronsky becomes a harridan, and in the end, outcast from polite society, ends her life. Once you wade through all of Tolstoy's philosophy, you realize why the movies boiled the story down to its tragic essence.
  • (4/5)
    I have always enjoyed crime and action novels, but having reached the age of 75 feel that it is time to catch up on the classics. Leo Tolstoy is one of my targets at the moment and AK seemed to be the best place to start. It was long (even on my Kindle!) and philosophical, but I enjoyed Tolstoy's views on life, love and Russian politics. He uses the character Levin to out pour his rather verbose view on religion and life and I found this a bit trying to get through at times. His story could have ended with the demise of Anna, but unfortunately carried on for too many more pages. I am glad that I have mastered this classic!
  • (4/5)
    Epic, certainly. I felt confused for the first half of the novel as to why it is considered such a great book but the second half was so incredibly engaging. I developed strong feelings for the characters (not necessarily of love) and questioned my own understanding of relationships, society's morality, and faith. I'm still reeling a bit from the philosophy and questions of the character Levin and have continued to feel no sympathy or warmth for the novel's namesake, Anna Karenina. What an interesting book.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for a book club. I almost quit immediately as it starts out with a political meeting and discussion. I found these to be least appealing parts of the book, and the mowing, and Levin's philosophing on religion.

    Other than those areas, I enjoyed the character development and various storylines.

    I did expect much more to happen than it actually did. It's not an "eventful" piece but worth reading nonetheless.
  • (1/5)
      This book was definitely not written for me. I'm glad I can say I finally read it, well listened to the audiobook, but that's about all I can be thankful for. The narrator had a pleasing voice and did a good job on the reading. I just didn't like the book. It was very boring in my opinion and just didn't interest me.
  • (5/5)
    Well, that was a pretty good book.

    Not, like, a ton of dirty parts.
  • (5/5)
    There's nothing original I could add to the volumes of scholarly study devoted to one of Tolstoy's famous literary masterpieces. I will, however, say the multiple forms of the various names, especially the royal males, was tedious and made the book a somewhat laborious read for this English speaking reader. The story was so beautiful it was certainly worth slogging through the continuously shifting, alphabet-swallowing names designated to each character, but it wasn't easy, even for a passionate reader. I would recommend this book to just about anyone except a new student/inexperienced reader I was hoping to hook on the classics.
  • (2/5)
    Alright, I may get thrown lettuce and tomatoes for this comment but I did not like this book. Like I said for my previous book, it’s just not my cup of tea. This seems to be a trend for me. Most of the literary classics I read I don’t like all that much. I can’t say why exactly. I must not like life stories all that much. I’m much more into adventure and action I guess. I’m a fantasy fan foremost. And unfortunately I don’t think that will ever change. I do however want to broaden my horizons, which is why I joined the group read in the first place. If I hadn’t be part of the group read and felt a sort of obligation I might not have finished this book. As it was I spent many hours cross-stitching and listening to this book and hoping it would end soon. There is a great deal of patience needed to listen to or read this book. There is tons of detail here. I mean a lot. It’s over a thousand pages. I guess I didn’t mind the plot and the inherent warnings/lessons/however you want to take it, but the amount of time it took to get the story out was very long. It certainly gave me time to get to like the characters. The only problem was, I didn’t much like any of them. Maybe I just couldn’t individually relate to them. I’m young and I grew up in the twenty-first century. My world is very different from the time and setting in this book. I also like strong female protagonists. And for me, Anna was not an independent or very strong woman. I did not understand why she let love and lack of love control her so much. Again this could just be because I’m young but I don’t relate all that well with protagonists who let things like love control their actions. I’ll admit that I don’t know what choices women did have in those days, but I still wished for something different. Anyways, all of this combined made for a book that I couldn’t get into. I’m not sure I could have got through it so quickly if I hadn’t been alternating it with another audio book. But I’m sure that other readers very well may love the book. I on the other hand am glad I finally finished it.
  • (5/5)
    On the surface, this is a family novel, interweaving the stories of seven characters who are related or connected by marriage. At the time that Tolstoy wrote the novel, this was an odd choice. According to the notes in the beginning of my book, the family novel was hopelessly out of fashion in the 1870s. However, within the constraints of the genre, Tolstoy writes a novel that both tells a story and explores deep themes - themes of life and death, faithfulness and adultery, tradition and modernization, wealth and class. The interweaving of story and theme helped the novel maintain its pacing. I enjoyed it most when I had time to sink into large chunks of it. Reading it in small pieces wasn't nearly as satisfying. I was surprised to learn that the novel initially centered primarily on Anna, her husband Alexei, and her lover Count Vronsky. Their story is a tragic one. In a marriage filled with privilege and devoid of passion, Anna turns to Count Vronsky for love. It is through this triangle that Tolstoy explores society's reaction to Anna's actions, Alexei Karenin's ineffectual attempts to stop the affair, and the challenges that Vronsky and Anna face in being together. While Tolstoy attempts to show each character's side in this story, the result was that I found no one's side worth taking. I appreciated Tolstoy's portrayal of the relationships, but had no one to root for. This relationship was balanced by the relationship between Kitty and Levin. The prominance of these characters did not come until later drafts of the novel, but they serve as a brilliant contrast to Anna and Vronsky, finding love that grows deeper throughout the novel. Levin is an autobiographical character, and through him, Tolstoy shares his own social commentary on issues of farming, government, and religion (although at times this parts were a bit long). My favorite parts of the novel were the emotional scenes at a death bed, a birth, or a life-changing decision. It was in these passages that Tolstoy's writing was distilled and his characters came alive. While he was clearly a philosopher and a master of social commentary, it was in his role as storyteller that Tolstoy crossed centuries and spoke directly to me.
  • (3/5)
    I ended up not liking AK all that much, the constant philosophical debates, and introspective musings, got on my nerves big time. Really? All those pages for all that?I gave it three stars as it is a classic, Tolstoy certain can write well, and there are some redeeming qualities in terms of character development and the plot lines. But "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".
  • (3/5)
    Well, by today's standards, I think most readers would put this book down and not finish it. Tolstoy goes to great lengths to describe scenes, emotions, character physique and personality quirks that really don't add to the story, but they help to paint an elaborate picture in the mind of life in Russia in the 1800's. For me, it was a great lesson in using detail to enhance a story. But, I think Tolstoy lost some balance in storytelling and painting a picture with words.Tolstoy should have ended the book earlier after the climax.The vocabulary and diction were superb.
  • (4/5)
    This is a great translation with wonderful notes.
  • (4/5)
    I will not attempt to summarize this work of literature. The plot is well-known and other reviewers have done an excellent job doing so. Themes of the book are adultery, including the church's attitude toward it. the political changes occurring in Russia at the time, and attitudes toward religion. Anna was not that likeable of a character. She abandoned her child. She would ask for something to happen and then refuse it when the opportunity presented itself. I enjoyed many of the descriptions, particularly those set on the farm. Tolstoy did a great job in developing characters. The book still has relevance for today's readers and is why it is still considered to be one of literature's all-time classics.
  • (5/5)
    What I love about this novel is, although it was published over a hundred years before I was born, takes place in a country different from my own and is written (though translated) in a different language, I can relate to the characters so closely as they struggle with insecurity similar to my own. Though the logistics are not quite the same, Tolstoy gets to the heart of issues and in doing so makes his characters and their problems timeless. He has a knack for describing perfectly the way they think and feel. In each character you can see how God's presence or absence in their life affects the way they relate to others.This novel made me extremely grateful for friendship. There are two characters whose interactions with each other are seen but twice in the novel, but have left an impression on me. One says to the other "I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, and not as you like them to be". I am fortunate to have a few friends in my life to whom I feel I can share anything and they will not love me any differently.
  • (4/5)
    Really well written. I wish authors today would create books this epic - I think Tolstoy really shows a lot of things that modern authors would be content to tell, in a major way.