Monday, August 8, 2016

162. Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
1877
Around 850 pages









I knocked this one out awhile ago back when I still feared Tolstoy (now we are bosom buddies).  I listened to it every day during my commute.  There is nothing like a 19th century Russian novel to really get you pumped for the day.

Basically, a St. Petersburg aristocat, Anna Karenina, is married to a dull government official.  She begins an affair with the sexy Count Vronsky.  I haven't seen the movie adaptation but I understand that Jude Law plays Anna Karenina's husband?  Who would cheat on Jude Law??  I am not sure I should be asked to suspend my disbelief in this way.  Anyway, Anna's brother Oblonsky also cheats, but no one really cares, because he is a man.  Sigh.  Oh yes, I suppose I should mention Konstantin Levin, who attempts to woo Oblonsky's sister in law, Princess Kitty.

I found bits of this novel to be quite dull, but I am hesitant to blame that on Tolstoy.  I am really just not a fan of being read to, unless it's by a shirtless James Marsters.  Still, I don't think this was as strong as War and Peace.  The secondary characters were nowhere near as rich and I ended up finding Levin's story rather tiresome.  I wanted more tawdry descriptions of Anna's affair, not endless details about Levin's moping.

In any case, I think if you are going to dedicate yourself to a long Russian novel, it should be War and Peace.  Still, it's Tolstoy so it is worth a read.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Praised by Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, and Faulkner.

Trailer from YouTube:


UP NEXT: Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy.

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