There are many, many, many adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, so when I received this manga classics version from Udon Entertainment anThere are many, many, many adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, so when I received this manga classics version from Udon Entertainment and Netgalley (in exchange for a fair review), I went in with my eyes open. The text is mostly faithful to the classic tale of enemies who overcome their misunderstandings to fall in love, but the charm of this version is in its illustrations. The artwork is beautiful, and reminds me of the work done by REM for Gail Carriger's Soulless manga adaptations in its attention to detail. I have to say that the egalley I received of this work was difficult to read at times because the copy lost some of the clarity necessary to read the text, but my familiarity with the story made up for this. Despite this limitation, or maybe because of it, I think this would be a good entry point to manga for those who are unfamiliar with it. It takes some practice for novices to get used to the "backwards" reading style that it requires, so some familiarity with the text will allow new readers to focus more on the style of reading and on the artwork, which is this particular adaptation's greatest asset....more
**spoiler alert** The fate of Anna Karenina is so well known that by the time the fateful moment comes, it is somewhat anti-climactic. However, what g**spoiler alert** The fate of Anna Karenina is so well known that by the time the fateful moment comes, it is somewhat anti-climactic. However, what got Anna Arkadyevna to that point is a story rich in agony and ecstasy. Anna Karenina opens with the famous lines "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." 864 pages later, we see that this is true: Dolly, the wife of Anna's brother Stepan Arkadyevich is disabused of her notions of what her life as a married wife and mother would be; the family is in debt, the husband a serial philanderer. Dolly has lost her beauty, her youth and vivacity and has accepted her lot in life. On the other hand, there is Anna, who fights back against her role in an unhappy marriage, beginning an affair with the charming Count Vronsky. She retains her beauty, but loses her mind as she is cast out of society. She is left with only Vronsky and their daughter, but cannot love the child as she loves her first born, Seryozha, a child she had to abandon when she left Karenin. As Anna's life is reduced to the role of Vronsky's illicit lover, all the love she felt for him begins to choke her. While Vronsky's position in society does not change, Anna is left out so as his life continues to flourish, she is left on the outside looking in. Feeling as though he is pulling away from her, she is desperate, anguished, and tormented over all she left for a love that cannot possibly be all there is of life.
Happy families, on the other hand, are represented by the characters of Levin and Kitty, who, after misunderstandings and missed opportunities, finally come together, marry and have a child. Levin is, in many ways, Anna's foil. Deeply moral and conscientious, shy and awkward, where Anna jumps without thinking of the consequences of her actions, Levin's considerations almost make him miss the greatest things life has to offer. Where Anna gives the novel its heart, Levin gives it its soul.
Despite this, the book fails on one level. (It is not the complexity of Russian names; I didn't have any real trouble keeping the characters straight.) According to Volokhonsky and Pevear, Tolstoy considered it his first novel, but in many places, it reads like a treatise instead of a work of fiction. Tolstoy's ideology strongly influences the sections dealing with agriculture and Russian political life of the 19th century, and the story loses some of its effect during these moments. However, despite this flaw,Anna Karenina's greatest triumph is its ability to bring complex characters to life and to make their story compelling regardless of the obviousness of their fate. ...more