Author: Leo Tolstoy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 964 pages
Setting: Russia, 1870s
Plot: The unhappily married Anna Karenina met Count Vronksy and the two ignited a consuming passion that ultimately led them to public scorn and increasing isolation. Juxtaposed against their tragic affair was a blossoming union between Kitty and Levin. Levin, particularly, aspired to live a meaningful and fulfilled life in accordance to universal truth.
Overall Impression: Anna Karenina might be a classic, but its abundant characters, side plots, and selfish love remind me of daytime soap operas. After almost 1,000 pages of the development of a deeply flawed character and an unsympathetic love affair, we find Anna’s death almost… inconsequential. Tolstoy devoted mere three sentences to how Vronsky grieved. No one else seemed to have grieved – not her brother or her closest admirer Dolly. I would have enjoyed the lengthy novel more if the titular character was Levin and the book would be of his spiritual awakening. I refrain on commenting about the writing since I am not blessed with Russian linguistics and hence relied on a translated version by Constance Garnett. I was recently told that Volokhonsky provided the superior translation and will seek that version for War and Peace.