Kelly Schuknecht's Reviews > Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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May 24, 11

bookshelves: fiction
Read from January 19 to May 24, 2011

Although I am pretty sure I will never read this book again, I am glad I read it. I can understand why it is a classic - in about a thousand pages, Tolstoy covers almost every major theme of life, such as love, marriage, infidelity, relationships, death, war, politics, etc. Yet, being a classic doesn't make it easy to read. There were some themes which I found challenging to get through, such as agriculture and war; where I personally preferred the parts about love, family and relationships.

My interest level in the book would go up and down throughout the book depending on the storyline. For me, it was difficult when Tolstoy would shift between storylines (i.e. from Levin in the country to Anna in Petersburg to Kitty wherever she is abroad). It would take me a little while to shift gears, but as I got further in to each individual storyline, that seemed to get easier.

The feeling I came away with at the end of the book was, why was this book titled Anna Karenina? I've read many descriptions that say the book is about Anna Karenina and how the Russian society in the late 1800's reacted to this woman who had an affair and left her husband, but for me it was not about that, at least not entirely. The book seemed to be more about Levin than Anna. It's about all of the things that had to happen in order for Levin to find peace within his soul.

Levin was in love with Kitty who originally turned down his marriage proposal for the possibility of being with Vronsky. If it hadn't been for Anna accidentally stealing Vronsky's heart, Kitty and Levin may not have ended up together. Although Anna's affair is a major part of the book, Levin's quest for faith is equally as big of a theme. All of the bad things that happened to other characters in the book (death, affairs and financial struggles) help Levin discover his own faith in the end.

If you are up for a challenge and a thought-provoking read, I recommend Anna Karenina. If you're looking for something quick and easy, this is not the book for you!
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