I can describe this book with one simple sentence: It is a masterpiece! Tolstoy wrote an incredible novel. I would give six stars, if possible.
ReadingI can describe this book with one simple sentence: It is a masterpiece! Tolstoy wrote an incredible novel. I would give six stars, if possible.
Reading this book is like eating a 70% bitter chocolate. You have to take it piece by piece. Then swirl it in the mouth and let it melt slowly, that the full bitter/sweet taste can develop. This pleasing taste stays in your mouth long after the piece of chocolate is gone. The same is with this book...
Although Ana and Vronski are one of the main characters and protagonists, the whole book is not only about them. Tolstoy is interweaving other characters stories through the book with great sensitivity. To someone it would seems that is too many individuals included (around 150), but it was not distracting to me at all. Topics in the book are varying from love, politics, economy, religion,..A couple of months ago, I read Rushdie's book Midnight children, which was in a way very similar regarding topics. But I could not follow it and at the end I was very confused, so I could not link everything together. Here is on the contrary.
Tolstoy is using a lot of adjectives throughout a book and sometimes there is the whole paragraph only describing particular situation or a person...but it is not boring at all. His descriptions are very colorfully, fresh,... and what is more important they bring you close to the place, time of action, further to the persons' character, its' mental and physical state. It is really hard to find the right words to describe his way of writing in this book.
This book got me closer to a Tsarist Russia in many ways. I got an insight into how upper social class lived. For example they talked with each other either in French or English language and not very often in a Russian, which surprised me. The rules in society were on one hand strict (they never talk laud about adulterer) and on the other quite progressive (like Ana's wish for divorce). Further one, how did they spend free time: in opera, on horse races, in clubs, on social/official visits,... You get also insight into the way of farming at that time. This was somehow funny to me, when Levin was thinking on some improvements that he would introduce into his property , because at this time point some of them are already obsolete, however his concepts about farm workers, his perspective on land and work and economy in general, are still attractive nowadays on my opinion. I do like Levin a lot. It is my favorite character in the book. His has very serious, smart, principled personality. His opinions are based on facts and profound consideration, besides he is always willing to hear other opinion. The greatest thing on him is, that he does not care what other people think about him. He follows his principles even, if it means breaking the common social politeness rules. I love the part, when he resigns a guest (Veslovski) at his property, because of his inappropriate flirting with his wife. First he tried to be nice and find a subtle excuse, but since he was never good at that, in the middle of his polite speech he goes strait and says into his face honestly that he does not like him, so he has to packed his things immediately and leave!
I also like Anna. With her character, Tolstoy exceed himself. You can follow how his inner mental state develop and in the same time you can lively feel her love, pain and hopeless situation. in the last part of the book he describes her mental struggling with her life. On moments it can be very intense and ramble, but it brings you to a mood she was in. After her suicide I almost felt a relive. It is sort of catharsis.
Besides above mentioned characters my next favorite ones are Vronsky and Oblonsky.
Well, I have to say I enjoyed in every single page of the book. I wish I could read more... ---------------------------------------------------------
While I was reading the book: (I read it in a Slovenian language).
Vse srecne druzine so si podobne, vsaka nesrecna druzina pa je nesrecna po svoje. (Konstantin Levin)...ni rad govoril o lepotah narave in tudi poslusal ni rad o njih. Zdelo se mu je, da besede jemljejo lepoto tistemu, kar je videl. str.251;2.odst. Sergius Ivanich Koznyshev vs. Konstantin Levin: 'Po mojem, ne more biti trajna nobena dejavnost, ce ne temelji na osebni koristi'. str.256;zad. odst. Najini mnenji se razhajata v tem, da je po tvojem osnovno gibalo osebna korist, jaz pa menim, da mora splosna blaginja zanimati vsekega cloveka na doloceni stopnji omike. str.267,268.
"Beseda narod je tako neodlocna" je rekel Levin. "Obcinski pisarji, ucitelji in eden izme dmuzikov eden na tisoc morda vedo, za kaj gre. Ostalih osemdeset milijonov pa, Kakor Mihajlovic, ne samo, da ne izraza svoje volje, temvec nima niti najmanjsega pojma, o cem naj izrazi svojo voljo. S kaksno pravico pa potem lahko govorimo, da je to narodova volja"? str.816
"Pa saj ne gre za to, da bi se zrtvovali, temvec za to, da bi ubijali Turke," je bojece rekel Levin. " Narod se zrtvuje in se je pripravljen zrtvovati za svojo duso, ne pa za ubijanje,"...