Anna Karenina
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Anna Karenina

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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  303,196 ratings  ·  13,308 reviews
Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is Tolstoy's classic tale of love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A rich and complex masterpiece, the novel charts the disastrous course of a love affair between Anna, a beautiful married woman, and Count Vronsky, a wealthy army officer. Tolstoy sea...more
Hardcover, Modern Library, 950 pages
Published 1950 by Random House (first published 1877)
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Nataliya
Dec 04, 2012 Nataliya rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nataliya by: The annoying movie ad on Goodreads - the blinking and flashing and seizure-inducing one
As a daughter of a Russian literature teacher, it seems I have always known the story of Anna Karenina: the love, the affair, the train - the whole shebang. I must have ingested the knowledge with my mother's milk, as Russians would say.

............

My grandpa had an old print of a painting hanging in his garage. A young beautiful mysterious woman sitting in a carriage in wintry Moscow and looking at the viewer through her heavy-lidded eyes with a stare that combines allure and deep sadness. "Who...more
Brad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry
Jun 20, 2008 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terry by: Rich Moran
In the beginning, reading Anna Karenin can feel a little like visiting Paris for the first time. You’ve heard a lot about the place before you go. Much of what you see from the bus you recognize from pictures and movies and books. You can’t help but think of the great writers and artists who have been here before you. You expect to like it. You want to like it. But you don’t want to feel like you have to like it. You worry a little that you won’t. But after a few days, you settle in, and you fee...more
Sammy
People are going to have to remember that this is the part of the review that is entirely of my own opinion and what I thought of the book, because what follows isn't entirely positive, but I hope it doesn't throw you off the book entirely and you still give it a chance. Now... my thoughts:

I picked up this book upon the advice of Oprah (and her book club) and my friend Kit. They owe me hardcore now. As does Mr. Tolstoy. This book was an extremely long read, not because of it's size and length ne...more
Trevor
Not since I read The Brothers Karamazov have I felt as directly involved in characters' worlds and minds. Fascinating.
I was hooked on Anna Karenina from the opening section when I realized that Tolstoy was brilliantly portraying characters' thoughts and motivations in all of their contradictory, complex truth. However, Tolstoy's skill is not just in characterization--though he is the master of that art. His prose invokes such passion. There were parts of the book that took my breath because I re...more
Christopher
In lieu of a proper review of my favorite book, and in addition to the remark that it would be more aptly named Konstantin Levin, I present to you the characters of Anna Karenina in a series of portraits painted by dead white men.


Anna Karenina (Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargent)



Alexei Karenin (Portrait of Edouard Manet by Henri Fantin-Latour)



Alexei Vronsky (Study of a Young Man by John Singer Sargent)



Konstantin Levin (Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife by John Singer Sargent



Kitty Sch...more
Brett
Jul 03, 2008 Brett rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Alright, I'm going to do my best not to put any spoilers out here, but it will be kind of tough with this book. I should probably start by saying that this book was possibly the best thing I have ever read.

It was my first Tolstoy to read, and the defining thing that separated what he wrote from anything else that I've read is his characters. His characters are unbelievably complex. The edition of this book that I read was over 900 pages, so he has some time to do it. His characters aren't static...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jun 23, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die; Top 10 Books by Living Writers; Newsweek's Metalist 100; Oprah Book of the Month
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly
So, I have this ongoing etiquette problem. Though sometimes I think it is a matter of respect. Or maybe social awkwardness. I’d consult my Emily Post on the issue, but it’s a unique bookworm sort of problem. I don’t think Ms. Post got that deeply into the protocol of neurotic bibliophiles.

Anyway, the question is.. why do I unconsciously call an author by their first name sometimes? In some respects, I’ve had this conversation before in the context of gender. That is, are discussants more likely...more
Dia
What turned out to be the most interesting to me as I devoured this lush book was Tolstoy's amazing ability to show how we change our minds, or how our minds just do change -- how enamored we become of a person, a place, a whole population, an idea, an ideal -- and then how that great love, which seemed so utterly meaningful and complete, sours or evaporates just days, hours, or even minutes later -- in short, how truly fickle we are. And at the same time, each of the characters was in some way...more
Jenn(ifer)
Read the end of Anna Karenina and listen to this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mUmdR...

It’ll break your heart.

When I first completed this book, I sat down at my computer and attempted to review it, and all I could come up with was,

“F*ck you, Tolstoy!!”

I know that sounds juvenile, but I still have that feeling. I’m so ANGRY with him for what he did to Anna. I’m so angry that we were barely given a chance to know her. (Yes, I'm aware that she's a fictional character who never actually ex...more
Litchick (is stuck in the 19th century)
sckenda
What is it you want from me? “I want your love."

Leo Tolstoy portrays the search for love and the ways in which love are found and lost. His famous opening sentence—“All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion” -– predicts the symmetrical structure of his story and the comparison and dissimilarity of multiple couples searching for elusive happiness. Each character must face a desire that liberates or enslaves, enlightens or dims, and which bestows happiness...more
Tyler
When the Russian elite first read this idyll to their vanity, they must have fallen headlong into the reflecting pool right after Narcissus. For now, you see, not only are they rich and powerful, but according to Tolstoy they’re also supremely virtuous. The theme of this book does the trick.

Say a painter decides to do a Madonna and Child. Looking around, he frowns as he sees that this subject has already been painted thousands of times in every possible way over the ages. To stand out, he decide...more
Dolors
Apr 13, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Intrepid mind travellers
In front of me a glittering pond of rough oceanic waters protesting in silence in apparent stillness. Only the gentle swaying of casual waves crackling with the briny droplets of condensed breeze preludes the forthcoming storm. For below the surface, swirling undercurrents swell like lungs breathing in air of confusion and exhale the sea-secrets of the human soul.
Things are not what they seem and Anna Karenina is not only the doomed love story of a woman trapped in her own mind whose life is ens...more
Emily May
This is a book that I was actually dreading reading for quite some time. It was on a list of books that I'd been working my way through and, after seeing the size of it and the fact that 'War And Peace' was voted #1 book to avoid reading, I was reluctant to ever get started. But am I glad that I did.
This is a surprisingly fast-moving, interesting and easy to read novel. The last of which I'd of never believed could be true before reading it, but you find yourself instantly engrossed in this kind...more
Collin
Sep 08, 2008 Collin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody who didn't already want to read it.
Recommended to Collin by: implied recommendation from my dad.
There are two problems with reading anything by Leo Tolstoy. 1) That guy seriously needed an editor with a forceful personality, as his most famous books are far too long. 2) It's nearly impossible to keep the characters apart, because they all have something like 10 different names depending on the situation and social setting (this is true of much of Russian literature, though for me it's worst by far with Tolstoy).

I don't remember much about this book, to be honest, as I read it in the summer...more
Sean
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” One of the most famous lines in the history of literature. A phrase that sets the tone for the events that unfolds in this massive tome from one of Russian’s most famous novelist, Leo Tolstoy. This author is mostly famous for his double fisted pair of epics which feature a panoramic view of 19th century Russian society. This book, Anna Karenina rests in one hand as a tragic love story whereas the other complex war ep...more
Shauna
This was an amazing book. Shakespearean in its ability to create living, breathing characters who walk off the page. I never doubted for a moment that Levin, and Anna, and surprisingly, Oblonsky were people that I might bump into on the streets of Moscow back in 1850 or whenever the book was written.
But, really, the reason the characters seem so real is that they are not restricted to their time. Their concerns and feelings represent the human dilemma and it is easy for me to empathize with them...more
Elena
This is obviously a masterpiece, no point in denying it.

[There may be spoilers ahead]

To me, Anna Karenina felt like the slow destruction of a woman.
Anna is a respectable Saint Petersburg woman.
Married, a son, and unmistakable wealth.
She's strong and decisive--at least at the beginning.
That's all until she meets Alexey Vronsky.
She falls into this spiral of passion; she leaves her husband and her son, to live it at the fullest.
But this only worsen her situation, that becomes more and more unstable...more
Jason Koivu
Anna, oh Anna...what have you done?!

In Anna Karenina there are multiple examples in which one love is fostered at the expense of another. On the one hand the reader clearly sees the wrong being done and rails against it, but if a moment of further reflection is indulged, we wonder if we too might not have done the same. Should true love be grasped at any cost? What price is too high?

However, Tolstoy didn't just write a tragic romance, he had social issues he wanted to discuss...and discuss he di...more
Jan-Maat
At the end of Gogol's Dead Souls a Troika gallops off leaving the author to ask with a flourish where it is speeding off to. Gogol on his death bed was struck by a severe case of religion and had the rest of the novel put on the fire (a few pages were rescued), but symbolically, as a question about Russia and which direction the country should be travelling towards the image hangs over the literature and politics of nineteenth century Russia, above all perhaps in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.


The Ideo...more
Mark
Levin, Levin, Levin, you are a conceited monkey. Why you worry so much?? Is it because you think your problems are bigger than everyone else's? Is it because you don't have enough to fill your days? I would think planting and harvesting would be enough to make a guy dog-tired at night. Dog-tired enough that his infernal mind would shutty uppy for even half a page. Or is it because you think your problems are greater than others'? That you as landowner are the sole decider of everyone else's fate...more
Madeline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melanie
May 14, 2007 Melanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, everyone
Shelves: alltimefavorites
OK people...This is the BBE (best book ever)...I think I’ve read this three times; on my own and once the classroom setting. Though it’s famous for the first line, (“All happy families are alike…”) I actually have a tough time getting through the first 400 pages (JUST KIDDING!). Actually, this is the type of book that you love for 100 pages, hate for 100 pages, love for 100 pages, etc. I can see how this could deter readers, but I’ve found that the love/hate dynamic keeps me interested and makes...more
Paul
Sep 30, 2011 Paul marked it as assorted-rants-about-stuff  ·  review of another edition
For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament round 2.

****

The ball was only just beginning as Anna walked up the great staircase, flooded with light, and lined with flowers and footmen in powder and red coats. From the rooms came a constant, steady hum, as from a hive, and the rustle of movement; and while on the landing between trees the ladies gave last touches to their hair and dresses before the mirror, they heard from the ballroom the careful, distinct notes of the fiddles of the orchestr...more
Amanda Nelson
Anna Karenina has long held a place in my top ten favorite books of all time, but I haven't read it since high school. I realize this was about 8 years ago, and that I needed a refresher if I was going to go on claiming such undying adoration for the thing. So, I began The Epic Re-Read...and finished in just a few days. It's as engrossing, sweeping, and infuriating as I remembered.

Ok, let's address the things most people talk about when you bring up the AK: yes, it's long. Yes, Anna is annoying....more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
This is primarily the story of Anna Karenina's troubled affair with Alexey Vronsky. It's also the story of Konstantin Levin's search for love and truth in society.

While reading this book, I kept wishing that I could just read a "good parts version" as William Goldman called The Princess Bride. I kept getting bogged down in Tolstoy's reflections, mostly through Levin's eyes, of how decadent, silly, redundant, and complicated life in the upper class of 19th-century Russian society was. There would...more
Mariel
Oct 06, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jay Gatsby
Recommended to Mariel by: Pat Benatar
Celebrity Death Match versus Jane Eyre. This review is a sequel to Manny's review that is a sequel to Paul's review.
Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina in The Bloody Paper Cut, or was it the Spineless Book Fights Back or was it the Revenge of the Dog-Eared? Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina in the Dance of Lover's Death. Or was it... Hell, I don't know.
Fog rises up from the ground and remains shin level. Well, shin level for an average genteel lady. A tall elf would be able to see their own ankles all the sam...more
Keith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To...more
More about Leo Tolstoy...
War and Peace The Death of Ivan Ilych The Kreutzer Sonata Resurrection Childhood, Boyhood, Youth

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“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” 4849 likes
“If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.” 3642 likes
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