Anna Karenina

One of my goals/ideas for this blog is to report on larger projects in my life: reading, knitting, writing, cooking. My current large reading project is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I’ve wanted to read this (or, more accurately, have read this) for quite awhile. I really like lists (that’s probably an understatement), and one list-related book I enjoyed is The Top Ten, edited by J. Peder Zane. Basically, Zane wrote to over 100 authors to ask them for what they thought were the top ten works of literature. Anna Karenina came out on top of all the books recommended by all the authors, so it seems like one I should read. What finally got me to start, though, is the new movie with Keira Knightley. I want to see the movie, but I’m not going to rent it until I finish the book!

To make the task a little easier, I was able to download an audio version from NCLive. I love listening to books, and when I think to get out my iPod, it makes chores like dishes and folding laundry go faster (the latter especially when one is not permitted to watch TV for the week!). I’m about 20 chapters into the second part (I think there are 8 parts) and enjoying it so far–it has a good, not overdramatic narrator, and the chapters themselves are short enough that it’s easy to stop and start. I’ve also bought the book for my Kindle (albeit a different translation), so I can check details and get my bearings when need be.

Some initial reactions:

  • I know about the tragic ending (if you don’t, you won’t want to read my future AK posts), so I was impressed by the foreshadowing of it in the first part.
  • I mostly like/feel sympathetic toward Anna, but occasionally her personality seems to change abruptly. I guess this can be true of us when we aren’t making our best decisions, but I’m not yet sure that I buy her being in love with Vronsky.
  • I don’t like Vronsky or find him at all sympathetic, but ironically, I fall under Oblonsky’s charm just like all the characters do–I find this to be part of Tolstoy’s skill!

Updates to follow as I progress through the book.

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