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Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club)
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Product Description

Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world's greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy's best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn't take well to that sort of thing.

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. While previous versions have softened the robust, and sometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This award-winning team's authoritative edition also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for generations to come.

Customer Reviews:

  • Ehhhh..
    I just finished this book, in a weeks time. The first, maybe 300 pages, were extremely intriguing and I couldn't put the book down. But this was mainly because I loved the story between Anna and Vronosky. I must admit, the main reason I purchased this book was because it was said to be one of the greatest love stories of all time, and I highly enjoy reading love stories. After awhile, I realized that this book didn't revolve around Anna, like I had thought. And one of the greatest love stories of all times? Absolutely not. Actually, I barely saw any kind of "love story" in this entire novel. There was Anna and Vronosky, but could you even consider what they had to be a love story? Maybe for about 50 pages, but after that, it was annoying. To be honest, I don't think love even existed between the two of them, more like infatuation turned into obsession. Anna constantly complaining about how she felt unloved. She convinced herself that he no longer loved her, which drove her to insanity. And the way she left her son, completely unforgivable.
    Then we had Levin and Kitty's love story. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't bring myself to feel the love between them when Levin wasn't even her first choice. It seemed to me that she settled for Levin because she was unwanted. However, I felt she did come to love him eventually, after they had married, which made their story enjoyable.
    As many others have stated, I think Stiva was the most enjoyable character in this entire book, and yet he wasn't any better than the rest.
    I enjoyed Alexia Karenina, and I feel as if he was actually a good man that was unable to express his emotions. Notice the pattern; Anna was "repulsed" by him, felt as if he didn't care about her and no longer loved her. After a little while with Vronosky, she felt the same exact way towards him. The problem wasn't with these two men, it was Anna's own insecurities. Which is ironic, because such a "beauty" as she was, being envied by all, she was so strangely insecure.
    Should I mention Levin and the hundreds of pages wasted on his thoughts about farming, hunting, and philosophy? I admit, some of it was interesting. But after awhile, it became repetitive and I struggled to get through it.

    But even despite my negative opinions, I still gave the book 3 stars. Why? Because there were parts of the book that were entertaining, that did keep me turning the page, and for the most part, it was an easy read. I'd recommend it, but definitely not to someone whose looking for a love story or a fun read. ...more info
  • I prefer the Constance Garnett translation
    I bought both this translation AND the B/N version (amazing how different versions can enhance your reading enjoyment) and soon brought this one back. I preferred Constance Garnett's translation (the one Barnes and Noble uses for AK) much more than this one. I could visualize everything that was happening and the language was much more lyrical and flowing than the Oprah Book Club version. The Oprah version is harder to concentrate on while you're reading the 19th-century sentences! I especially love the descriptions of the ball, of Anna being excited to see Vronsky at the train station in the first part of the book, etc., in Ms. Garnett's version as compared to the drier version here. I read somewhere that the Oprah version is supposed to be closer to Tolstoy's original version, but sometimes another person who phrases things better (such as Ms. Garnett) can make a classic even better! I'll take Mrs. Garnett's translation any day over this one. It has all the essence of a classic, but the writing is much more beautiful than in this Oprah version. (By that I mean her book club)....more info
  • Most Complex Characters Ever
    This book is great. The characters are really complex, thinking people, full of contradiction and reflection. Epiphanies change them only gradually. The story line never takes an easy out, but bends back on itself just like life. The characters' games and recreations gave me pleasure, as well as their various dissertations, jokes, meals and arguments. This is a mirror held up to anytime and anywhere. I highly recommend it. ...more info
  • Classic Russian literature at its peak
    It's really a disgrace to see how many people have commented on the length of this novel, and as a post-modern youth, I see how short the attention span of the average person is, and how absent minded people have come to be, with respect to literature.

    If you expect every single word of this book to be filled with gut wrenching action like an action film, go see a Die Hard movie. This book, and all other novels of any significance are setup to show the human condition, to show something not readily apparent. Sometimes, it takes hundreds of pages.

    This is one of my favorite works of literature, and my favorite work of Tolstoy. Take time to read a book that envelops emotions and feelings that you have never experienced, or at least would admit to experiencing. ...more info
  • Human emotions and relationships -- a literary masterpiece!
    It took me several months to read all 817 pages of this amazing novel which was published in segments between 1873 and 1877 in a Russian periodical. Every time I picked it up it transported me to a time and a place and a way of life that is long since gone. That it not what makes this novel great, however. What makes it great is the human relationships and emotions which are just as real today as they were in that long ago time. Here we see life and death and love and jealousy and ambition. Here we meet people who were developed so deeply and thoroughly that I did more than just understand them - I felt I was really inside of them, sharing their lives and their feelings.

    I reacted with horror to the social conditions of the time that forced one of the characters into a tragic decision. I was moved my emotion by a death scene which brought all the nuances of a fading life for the person dying as well as his loved ones. I was filled with joy at a happy marriage between two people who were kept apart for a while because of pride. I learned about life in the Russian countryside and the details a landowner must deal with in dealing with the newly freed serfs and the land - and in one scene even felt that I was present during the seasonal mowing. I learned about the social restrictions on even the most aristocratic women and emerging discussions about womens' education. And, even though I would have personally liked a few more details of what went on behind bedroom doors, I bow to the conventions of the times, and used my imagination.

    Anna Karenina is a married woman who dares to have a romance outside her marriage with Count Vronsky leading to tragedy. Levin is a rich countryside landowner who is at first rejected by the love of his life, Kitty. These are the main characters but they intersect with dozens of others. They are all aristocrats and all have privileged lives. And they are all very real people who are easy to identify with. This novel is a masterpiece and well worth the time and effort to read. It touches nerves in the way that only great writing can do. ...more info
  • Just the tale for a winter vacation
    What a marvelous translation this is! We get a story that is faintly old-fashioned, very slightly foreign--as though your grandmother, born abroad but having lived in the U.S. for years and retaining the merest tinge of an accent, were telling you a long story about family members you've never met--and yet intimate and delightfully gossipy, all at the same time. No wonder it's a beloved classic; this book tells both its sad story and its happy story clearly and with plenty of feeling. Characters grow and change, dismaying situations occur, and all seems very real. Don't miss this fine book....more info
  • First I read War and Peace, then this.
    I loved War and Peace and hated Anna Karenina. I got within 20 pages of finishing the book and gave up in disgust. It's a 200 page novel that drags on for 800+ pages.

    The main character is impossible to care about, and the rest of the characters are in some cases only mildly likable.

    By contrast, the story, historical landscape, and characters of War and Peace held me tight to the last page, and I was sorry it ended.

    Tolstoy's story-telling technique is similar in both books. He puts you on the ground in the middle of the moment to moment action and lets the outline of the story emerge, much as it would in real life. That worked well for me in War and Peace and failed in Anna Karenina.

    The structural problem with Anna Karenina is that the story is too small and lurid to be interesting beyond a couple of hundred pages. A lot of the narrative was irrelevant to the main plot, and the rest was like reading some of the more dreary posts on the Craigslist Marriage and Long Term Relationships forum--a lot of drama that's hard to care about.

    Stuffing Tolstoy's story-telling style into this story was like asking Beethoven to craft a three-minute song for someone to sing on American Idol....more info
  • Just watch "The Young and the Restless" or something
    I don't know why everybody thinks this is great literature. If it weren't Tolstoy, everybody would see it for what it is--a soap opera in print. At least the main plot is. I don't know what the point of the subplot with Kitty and Levin is, except to make the book a few hundred pages longer and a lot more boring.

    Seriously, if you want decent literature with similar characters and stories, go read Jane Austen or Vanity Fair....more info
  • Big and beautiful...
    Anna Karenina is probably the most detailed work on relationships, families, society, and spirituality ever written... It is detailed to the point of being its own universe - and one that moves with the consistency of a fine tuned machine. One can only approach such a work by abandoning to it completely - allowing it to take you in whatever direction it wills - with the full acceptance that the path you are taking is leading to a full and definitive fruition...

    But to speak of the great technical aspects of the novel is not enough.. Somehow it is in the images that Tolstoy creates that allows the novel to really sink in - often promting people to return to it again and again..
    The images of the elite societies of Petersburg and Moscow, Levin's estate in the countryside, the dreams of Vronsky and Anna... All the significant moments of the book are presented in a way that enchants the reader.. And while so many literary techinques are used, it is all so natural that it is hardly noticeable - simply great storytelling...

    I have read two translations of the novel... the Maudes' translation and now Pevear and Volokhonsky... Both translations were very readable and well written... I cannot say which is better since I do not know Russian and I am no expert on translation... I can say that this translation by p/v is now very highly regarded - and I enjoyed reading it... While the Maude translation seemed more literary, the p/v translation seemed more direct and real to me... So either way you can't lose.. I can only recommend that you pick up one of these versions and enjoy being swept away....more info
  • Anna Karenina
    The translation is excellent. The book is good but overrated (of course, my female friends disagree). I thought it began to drag on after page 500, where the book should of ended (so I removed a star).

    Overall the book is very much like a soap opera. There is much personal conflict, affairs, jealousy, etc. It is a little slow moving, but very well written (of course). ...more info
  • Indifference? NOT HERE!
    I haven't had/made time to read other translations of this Great work, but IMHO, Anna Karenina 'Must Be' in the top five list of all-time Greatest Romances...
    (trying NOT to be selfish): Reading Anna Karenina has enriched my life; It has INCREASED my love, devotion, & respect for-to my wife, my respect & care for my children & grand-children.
    I hope it does the same for you & your family......more info
  • A classic worth reading
    This is a sophisticated story. Yes like many of the classic it may be corny by todays vinacular. After reading many classics is still not easy, not to snicker when the author uses the word gay. Much beyond that you have to read this story beyond the mere words, you need to imagine a different time and different society. In many ways it is ironic that many of the situations the characters in this story are in are situations that still challenge people today. If you allow yourself this story can cause you to question many of your values, espically social values. It is long, it is corny, and it can be good....more info
  • Lengthy, but worth the long ride
    Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is his lengthy novel about marriage, fidelity, love, relationships, and coming to a larger answer of identity and faith, and we see both the main protagonists--Anna and Levin--struggle with this. Jumping into a book of this magnitude and length can be daunting, and not everything included is perfect. There are sections that tend to drag on and are a bit verbose, including the sections on Levin's interest in farming, or Vronsky's passion for the arts. Yet, while this is not a perfect novel (and does have its overdone moments), clearly there are passages that make it praiseworthy. The construction--how Tolstoy is able to tie plots and conflicts together--and his ability at complex characterization make the book praiseworthy. Tolstoy not only gives you the detailed accounts of a tragic and redeeming character, but creates a picture of late 19th century Russia.

    Anna and Levin--the two main protagonists--have reversed fates. Anna, bored with her marriage to Karenin, is spellbound when she meets Vronsky, and she carries on a secret and illicit affair. Anna, because of this, begins to face several problems that begin her downward spiral. Women in their society speak negatively of her, and Karenin doesn't approve of her flirtations. Anna must still answer to her husband Karenin, who refuses to grant a divorce despite constant pleas from both Oblonsky and Anna. Anna's relationship with her son begins to drift away, and, she begins to feel her loss of control, including her insecurity about Vronsky being truly in love with her. As she tries to "live" life in happy terms, the problems take over her existence, and an inflicting mental state begins to take hold of Anna, and does not let go. On the other side, Levin seems to be the polar opposite of Anna. After initially being refused love by Kitty, he seems to go on a "spiritual" journey, where he questions his faith and life. He eventually is able to win over Kitty, but still must discover who he is. This is a battle he struggles with the entire novel. While he is also untrusting of society like Anna, and has difficulties set before him (such as the physical decline of his brother, the feeling of isolation without Kitty), he tends to find ways to overcome and resolve difficulties. There is a point in the novel when Levin is out on his farm, reflecting on the ways of life, and isolated from everyone, but he is growing spiritually; at the same time, Anna is carry on what you would think to be an exciting life, having exploits and passionate flings with Vronsky, yet there is an unhappiness, an insecurity that lingers in her soul because she can't have the idyllic life she craves.

    Tolstoy's might have been making a point about the importance of keeping marriages and family life working, with Anna as the tragic example. Once Anna carries on an affair, it is as if society shuns her, and the world is "out to get her." The insecurity that seems to creep into Anna's conscious will not let go. Despite her mistakes, you tend to "feel sorry" for Anna because Tolstoy takes you inside her head during her mental suffering:
    "Yes, I'm very anxious, and reason was given to escape that; consequently, I have to escape. Why not put out the light when there's nothing more to look at, when looking at all this is horrid? But how? ...It's all falsehood, all lies, all deceit, all evil!" There are times when things with Vronsky seem to be going fine, and yet, she will not allow herself to enjoy it. Although she is having an affair, she certainly suffers for her mistakes, and pays for them. What is the most frustrating aspect of her existence is how little she can do, or will do, to change it.

    Some people may condemn Tolstoy's work for being excessively wordy, long-winded, and dated. What simply makes this book a classic is his power of words, his description and ability to make a novel come to life with complex characters. I would recommend reading a few of Tolstoy's short stories before taking on this monster. It is a long book, but, if you get through it, it is worth it!

    ...more info
  • Dissapointing, boring, waste of time
    I am in two book clubs and I read books when it's NOT book club time. Out of all the wonderful books out there, our book club picked this. Absolutely the biggest waste of time! It wasn't the size that scared me, but it was so "dry". No feeling, no emotions what so ever! So boring, it would put me to sleep. From the very beginning, I felt like it was a very shallow & blah-blah-blah book.....There wasn't a character that I really cared about, except Anna Karenina. ONLY because that is what the title of the book is! The best love-affair ever written, no way! It might have been a scandelous book back in the day, but a total bore. And Levin talking and talking about farming, politics & his religious believes - it was so ridiculous. What got me was Tolstoy would write what the characters are thinking. But when he put in the book what Levin's dog was thinking, I just about threw the book away! Tolstoy NEVER could express emotions in his way of writting on any of these characters. Someone tell me what the big deal is....more info
  • Before the Movies, There was Tolstoy
    This is my second reading of this towering classic. Here's what impressed me about Tolstoy. He could write well about everything. Most novelists are specialists favoring certain genres. Tolstoy's vision demanded an omnipresence that he fulfilled with staggering genius. Here are a few of his subjects from Anna Karenina: government ministerial discussions, horse racing, girl talk about wedding plans, a day spent mowing rye, lover's spats, bird shooting, a death bed scene, business deals, peasant life, ballroom manners, discussions about painting/art, European travel, military life, gambling, childbirth, suicidal ideation...

    I hope no one will reject this novel because of its age or locale. Russian aristocrats in the 1870s dealt with all the fundamentals. Tolstoy had a way of summarizing little incidents with such straight forward assurity that despite the gap in time and culture you are apt to think, "Yes, that's exactly how it is."

    Anna Karenina was serialized and this forced Tolstoy to write short chapters with intense focus on a myriad of subjects. He used third person omnipotence with shrewd precision. Some scenes were described as objectively as a camera. Others had the slant of a man, woman or even an animal. He always put a philosophically-minded character in his works and this allowed him to use the rich inner life of a thoughtful person. The author's ability to give introvert/extravert pespectives profoundly enriched his literature.

    So, by the time you are through the 800 plus pages, you will know Tolstoy's characters intimately. Levin is more real to me than many of my relatives or co-workers. And when I meet a woman of consumate aplomb, I think of Anna. ...more info
  • Requires patience
    How can anyone argue with Virginia Woolf, who believed that Tolstoy was one of the world's greatest novelists?

    I agree with her in part. Anna K is a significant work of art. But, with all due respect to Tolstoy, it's too long to be a "novel". Anna K was actually written and published in small installments for a magazine, over a 4 year period. It is meant to be digested as small savory morels, over a long period of time. So, if you think that you are going to finish this in a few days or even weeks, don't be fooled! It took me a year. Most college courses that require this novel to be read, do so over a 12-16 week period.

    I recommend this classic novel for those who want to know more about Russian culture during the life and times of Tolstoy. If you are not a seasoned reader, don't be convinced by the critics who hail this to be the "greatest novel ever written", or by the other reviewers who rave on and on about how they "can't put it down". Most people run out of patience when they approach the novel from that perspective. It mostly appeals to readers who have a vested interest in Russian culture, or who are reading classics for the sake of reading classics.

    I appreciate Tolstoy's depiction of country life as far more wholesome and preferable to city life. The reason that this is a classic, is because of it's cultural significance. You will understand Tolstoy's point of view on some key political and philosophical issues during his lifetime, such as the societal roles of serfs versus Russian aristocrats, education reform, and women's rights.

    At first, it was challenging to learn to read the names of the Russian characters...Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky,Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya, Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin, Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya, Lydia Ivanovna, Countess Vronskaya , Sergei Alexeyitch Karenin, and the list goes on. But, there is a helpful audio guide online that can help you to learn the pronouciation....more info
  • bad shape
    the book is a great book even though it has fallen apart piece by piece during my read...more info
  • An affair to remember! (...and much more)
    This is world-class literature and a story, albeit an older one, which teaches us much about life. I would HIGHLY recommend this book as a gift to any young adult. Yes, it is lengthy but here Tolstoy has yielded us one of the finest tales ever written.

    Anna Karenina is pure female Homo sapiens. She is both good and bad (it's not really a spoiler to note that she falls prey to drugs -- morphine), but most of all, human. When I first began reading this terrific story I anticipated that I would eventually be disappointed by having guessed at what was about to happen -- I BELIEVED that Tolstoy was going to tell me about a sweet girl whom was about to have bad things happen to her and, thus, the great author was going to barter for my sympathies for her. Well no such thing! Instead, Anna Karenina could well be living in the 21st Century given her impulsive proclivities and leading a lifestyle which attends little on injurious consequences, (which we seem to see a lot of these days!). Sometimes I admired her and sometimes I wanted to strangle her, but as I read on I could not see where Tolstoy was really heading with her until the very end.

    THE STORY: Anna Karenina falls in love with a dashing, handsome, young Russian military officer -- the problem is that she's married to a stogy (rich and influential) old nobleman and the two have a young son. This old curmudgeon (sometimes a wimpy fool and sometimes an aggressive scoundrel) clings to very religious and moralistic ethics and as Anna's affair evolves, the old man is launched into a distasteful and unpleasant roller coaster ride of emotion.

    There are a number of great sub-plots but the chief one concerns a young landowner, the reformist Levin, who is passionate about two things: 1. changing the archaic Russian agricultural system (a very important issue in that period of Russian culture!), and, 2. marrying an early sweetheart. The difficulty with his second agenda is that this gal is in love with Anna's young lover, and not with Levin!

    Maybe some folks will get to like Levin as they read on but by the end of the book I really despised him -- other readers might see Levin in a more positive light which is much of the beauty of this book. This work can inspire varying character alliances (as well as the reverse) for readers, the latter of whom have all experienced a diversity of real-life episodes (either directly or vicariously) which they will no doubt relate and append to the happenings within this fascinating book. Tolstoy's ability to create a mental symbiosis between particular characters in his stories and his readers was astounding.

    One of the principal characters (I won't name him) will ultimately surprise the reader with both his perseverance as well as with his positive morality. Religion, and perhaps some hipocrisy, is a large feature of "Anna Karenina" and it is rendered in a fashion which clearly manifests some present-day circumstances and applications.

    But, most of all, beyond the moral lessons, "Anna Karenina" is just a great and readable story. It's a lot like reading "A Mummer's Tale" (Anatole France) or "The Great Gatsby" (F. Scott Fitzgerald) -- the moral lessons are present but do not in any way interfere with the story's development.

    It's difficult to say enough good about this book. Larissa Volokhonsky is a wonderful and competent translator. She and her husband, Richard Pevear, only recently published their terrific translation of Tolstoy's "War and Peace," the Mother of all Russian literature. As to "Anna Karenina," buy it and read it -- you will savor it. It's a poster example of classic Russian literature at its best. ...more info
  • Tolstoy's Other Masterpiece
    Anna Karenina is really two books: a powerful drama of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage seeking love and happiness long before women's lib; and Tolstoy's spiritual confessional of his lifelong meditations on birth, death, and God. In this way it is not dissimilar from The Brothers Karamazov: both books come later in their respective authors' lives, from a mature and thoughtful vantage point.

    For Tolstoy, though, this is a curious departure from War and Peace, where he was able to synthesize an epic history of the Russo-Franco war and human beings caught in a conflict beyond their control, with his metaphysics and commentary on the movement of historical forces and God's role in deciding human fate. Anna Karenina does not achieve that kind of integration, as the story of Anna's reckless love affair with Prince Vronsky often recedes in favor of the parallel plotline concerning Tolstoy's alter ego, the industrious, well-intentioned, and intelligent, but awkward, Levin. For this reason, a monumental story of love and loss is sometimes prevented from shining.

    On a positive note, Tolstoy again manages to achieve the impossible: weaving grand themes and events massive in scope into a simple and beautifully accessible narrative. He is possibly the greatest "casual" master of the novel. in Anna Karenina, he allows his characters to live and breathe outside the story arc, creating an absorbing sensation of reality and an undeniable effect of realism. With drama that is never exaggerated, and players who are never histrionic, Tolstoy transports us into the Russia of the latter 19th century and, of course, into the very depths of the human heart....more info
  • One of the best
    So far, Anna Karenina is the best book I've read, and Leo Tolstoy is the best prose writer I've read. I've never read an author who writes so clearly, so vividly, and with so much psychological insight into his characters. Harold Bloom has said that, aside from Tolsoty, there is no post-Rennaissance writer who can compare to greats like Homer, Shakespeare, and Dante, and I agree with him. Don't be scared away by this book's length or its status as a classic. It's highly readable and enjoyable, unlike a lot of modern "literary" novels....more info
  • Long But a Great Reading Experience
    Like many others I was scared off from reading this 800 page monster Russian novel.

    Prior to reading the present book I became interested in Russian literature and read some of Dostoevsky's books such as "The Gambler" which is just over 100 pages and then "Crime and Punishment" which is about 500 pages; both were delightful and not difficult reads. So next I read the present book. Yes, it is one of the best novels ever written, perhaps second only to Tolstoy's other great novel "War and Peace" which I am reading now.

    The book has two protagonists or lead characters and at least two mostly separate stories about these two people: Anna Karenina who is the wife a government official and Levin who is a farmer. The book follows their lives, and of course the parts with Anna seem much more glamorous and interesting.

    The book was written after Tolstoy had written "War and Peace" and had taken a break by doing manual labour on a farm. Then he read Goethe, Shakespeare, and a number of stories written by Pushkin - a famous and gifted Russian writer who was killed in a duel 30 years earlier. Inspired by Pushkin's writings he wrote Anna Karenina, and according to historical notes, he wrote five drafts before the final version of this long novel. The novel has eight chapters, each about 100 pages long, each like a short book, so Tolstoy could write and re-write each section, then go onto the next.

    One theme is the conflict and inner emotional turmoil of Anna.

    The other theme is based on Tolstoy's own life in the character Levin, and Levin's conversion from being an atheist to accepting God.

    The only negative aspect of the book are the passages on Russian politics and land reform. The book was written during the 19th century when Russia was in the midst of land and agricultural reform, and some will find these parts a bit slow. They account for perhaps 100 pages.

    This is a novel that everyone should read.

    In case you are interested there are numerous versions of the same book all with slightly different translations, hard cover and soft cover, ranging in price from about $8 to $40. Also it is free on the internet. Most translations are very similar, regardless of the price. The present book is a good value....more info
  • a classic
    well how do you review a classic? and be as honest as you desire to be. so many words have already been spent on reviewing this book. still, an attempt i do make.
    insightful engaging and relevant. and will continue to be for as long as we survive as a race. a human story. a common story. for the simple reason that one sees oneself in atleast one of the characters.
    anna and levin two extreames,formed from the same personality. the condemned anna and the righteous levin.
    shocking was the condemnation of anna by the author in his abrupt dissappearace of her after her death. and also missed the anna that is reflected in her introductory pages, as she comes to resolve her brothers family issues.the beauty and strength reflected therin came to an abrupt end.i felt i was reading a story of two annas.
    still a un putdownable. and utterly beautiful....more info
  • A Masterpiece that is worth the effort
    This new translation of Anna Karenina is amazing! I have tried to read the other versions twice but found it difficult. I am thrilled about this new translation. Don't let the 800 pages daunt you. Tolstoy is a master of understanding human emotions and psychology. He portrays these characters so vividly, with such nuances that one is wrapped up in the story. A sensitive, refined person will appreciate this book and the story will leave an deep impression of Russia in Tolstoy's day. ...more info
  • Great Book, but Once is Enough
    Coming into reading Anna Karenina, I had already read most of Tolstoy's short works as well as War and Peace, so I was pretty sure of what I was getting into. I found that this novel, like all his other works, contains absolute genius. Tolstoy's insight into the mind of both men and women is astounding, and much can be learned from him. Tolstoy does a masterful job in making his readers sympathize with his characters, and the reader becomes very involved and very concerned about the character's lives.

    There were parts, however, that I just struggled getting through because the plot was suspended for extended periods of time. Many hold this novel in high regard, but in my own opinion, it is the lesser of Tolstoy's two great works. I have joked with my friends that Anna Karenina is like War and Peace without the war, but it is worth the read nonetheless....more info
  • A deeply human book that repays many re-readings
    Why on earth would anyone bother to write another review of so famous and exhaustively-studied a book as "Anna Karenina"?

    The world has changed immensely since the book was written in the late 19th century.

    Reviews have probably also changed over the years, reflecting the times in which they were written - and the changing nature of reviews themselves. In fact, it would be an interesting academic exercise to read how reviews of the book have changed since its publication.

    Each new review provides new interpretations, new insights to add to those of former times.

    Sometimes we are put off from reading classic writers such as Tolstoy because we think their works must be too intellectual, too boring, - or set in social and political contexts that have long-vanished and become difficult for modern readers to empathise with.

    I have often felt that way myself, and have put off reading "Anna Karenina" until now. Yet I can say, after reading Tolstoy's masterpiece, that the book is enjoyable and accessible to modern readers.

    Of course, only the greatest of literature survives the passage of time. The world of pre-revolutionary Russia has been swept away, but "Anna Karenina" tells us of fundamental human drives that will always engage the human spirit and imagination.

    Tolstoy's human portraits and his psychological insights are the outstanding features of this book. One of the pleasures of such excellent characterisations lies in reflecting on one's own life and motivations, one's dreams and failures.

    Tolstoy's characters also remind us of people we know - and of ourselves. It is very pleasant to slide into reflections of this nature as one reads passages in the book. The book becomes a trigger for our own reveries. It is a deeply human book.

    Not only is Tolstoy an excellent depicter of character, he is also gifted in his descriptions of country life, farming and nature. Passages describing cutting hay and the rural life of Russian peasants are simply beautiful.

    There is a wonderful episode in which Levin finally gets a "Yes" from the girl he loves (but had tried to ignore following an earlier rejection). Levin goes about in a daze, all is wonderful in the world, everyone he meets is intelligent and kind, even strangers seem to know all about his acceptance (so he thinks in his fog of joy) and he feels they vie with one another to be kind to him! Every man who has ever loved deeply and won his lady will instantly empathise with the situation that Tolstoy describes so well and wittily.

    There are wonderful portrayals of family life. Not in a cloying, saccharine sense, but in a very natural and moving way and in a deeply human sense, as true today as in Tolstoy's time.

    There are so many beautiful scenes in this book. Every reader will have their own favourites. Some can be read many times with equal enjoyment.

    For the philosophical and spiritual reader, there are many passages that have an almost religious significance, as if this were a holy book and not a work of fiction.

    Time is not explicitly spelt out and one has no precise idea of the exact timescale of the book while one is reading. Durations and periods of elapsed time are given, but there is a certain timelessness and agelessness about the book that is very apt.

    Read this book. You will not be disappointed and will find much to love.
    ...more info
  • Long winded novel
    This is an extremely long-winded book and I would urge anyone wanting to read it, to rather read an abridged version. The author takes numerous side trips which have nothing whatsoever to do with the story. Numerous dull and irrelevant discussions about local politics, farming methods etc take up endless pages and add nothing to the story. One gets the impression that Tolstoy was paid by the page and did all he could to drag things out....more info
  • Wonderful, vivid translation
    This will be short, because it's been several years since I read it and I can't be as detailed as I might be about a book I just finished, but I LOVED this translation of 'Anna Karenina.' I had read the Constance Garnett translation in high school (40+ years ago!), and I picked this translation up on a whim when I saw it in a new book shop. I could hardly believe it was the same novel! So vivid, so poignant, and just plain wonderful. I always knew this was a good piece of fiction; the Pevear and Volokhonsky version made me realize it is one of the greatest novels ever written. This is certainly one of the best books I have read in the past ten years....more info
  • Masterful
    Leo Tolstoy's immortal novel about love and morality is an intricate, flawlessly conceived work of literary realism. Tolstoy's magnificent application of temporality imbues this epic with an almost unparalleled sense of verisimilitude. Using a dialectic between Anna and Vronsky, and Levin and Kitty, Tolstoy unfolds one of the most remarkable novels about human relationships in the canon. Anna is a beautiful but doomed woman, whose love affair with Count Vronsky sets her life into a chain of inevitable disasters. Tolstoy's blend of politics, social satire, and quiet meditations on country life in 19th century Russia mark this novel as one of the richest and most eternal of works of art. Tolstoy sought to use art as a vessel for his moral opinions about life, death, and Christianity, but fortunately his art triumphed over his message in this incomparable masterpiece. ...more info
  • So much more than a great tragic romance
    This is one of the great books. It works so well on so many levels. It is great realist fiction but it also paved the way for the modern psychological novel. The writing is masterful as Tolstoy alters the tone of the novel to reflect the thinking and actions of different characters. There are also recurring ideas and motifs, such as the infidelity of Stiva echoed on a much more serious level by his sister Anna, and the railway themes of arrivals and departures, beginnings and endings on their most metaphoric levels.

    The 2 main protagonists are Anna Karenina, and Konstantin Levin, whose thoughts and actions mirror those of Tolstoy himself. Both are looking for love, but the loves are unique in aspect. What Anna seeks is emotional enrichment..a passion which is sorely missing in her marriage to Karenin but also unfortunately, can't be sustained in her affair with Vronsky. Levin seeks a love that will anchor his life, give it meaning and purpose. Levin seeks the truth and while he rejects society's hypocrisy, learns to adapt and function with it as he discovers a deeper meaning to his existence. Anna can't face the truth, and is victimized by that hypocrisy. She ultimately finds her existence to be empty and meaningless. The war that was waged within her, between morality and passion, between hope and despair, between the forces of light and darkness, eventually becomes too much to bear on her own.

    ANNA KARENINA is the literary equivalent of a great tragic opera. There is also much more to this novel. Much of Tolstoy's philosophy can be found here. His thoughts on Russian class structure, culture, religion, sociology , politics, and agronomy can be found in this novel. To get further insight into that thinking I suggest reading Tolsoy's Confession, which was written shortly after the publication of this work....more info
  • Great read!
    I am currently in 9th Grade and I did this for my book report. This is one of the greatest books ever. It is generally viewed as a tragic love story but Tolstoy expresses many ideas in this book. It's a wonderful read, though extremely long. So go ahead and buy this book!...more info
  • Completely Disappointed
    I thought that this would be a good book to read for my AP Literature class because I had heard that it was a great novel despite its daunting length. I found the book to be full of farming and political details unnecessary to the plot, the plot lacking in a definite climax, and the ending concerning Levin's realization and acceptance of God being completely unrelated to the first 800 pages. Anna Karenina, who is supposible the heroine of the novel, I found to be completely selfish and tried to shape the rules to her liking. She thought it to be totally unfair that she was deprived of society and of her son. She made the conscious decision to have an affair and was unwilling to accept the consequences of that decision. The only pleasure I received from this book was Levin and Kitty's relationship and their romance. All in all, this read was a complete disappointment and waste of time....more info
  • Great Book
    I bought this book for my girlfriends birthday, and she wasnt paying attention to me because she was reading it. SHE SAID SHE LOVED THIS BOOK. ...more info