Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A must read for every emerging writer, "Anna Karenina" (1878) is one of the most famous classics of all times. Together with "War and Peace" is considered the masterpiece by Russian author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). First appeared as a series of installments in a local periodical, "Anna Karenina" is an accurate snapshot of the Russian society of the time, it's been labelled as realist fiction.
The love story between married aristocrat Anna Karenina and a young affluent bachelor, Count Vronsky, unravels in a slow tale packed with female feelings and male rational thinking. Two more love stories run parallel to the main one: Levin, a country land owner who despises the city life, is desperately in love with naive Kitty, the little sister of Dolly, who is in turn the mother of three and betrayed wife of Anna's brother, Stephan.
"Anna Karenina" is the perfect book for the summer, when there's time and space enough to focus on the many characters and intrigues created by Tolstoy's imagination. Leo Tolstoy used his novels to express his ideas on various subjects like politics, war, religion, economy. His characters speak the author's mind and doubts, discussing between themselves different point of views and solutions. In the 1870s Leo Tolstoy went through a moral crisis and spiritual awakening and his novels reflect this inner turmoil.
I personally had trouble identifying with the character of Anna as a woman, and maybe for this reason I didn't feel the same attachment for this novel as I felt for "War and Peace". Still, I'm glad I read this masterpiece and I can add it to my classics library.
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