Book Review #48 – Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Hello!

I haven’t read a classic in such a long time! This one took me a while but I finally did it! Here’s my review from Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.

Find any edition of this book on Book Depository

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I’ve been wanting to read this book since I was aware of what classics are! This is the most known russian book (which literature I know pretty much nothing about) and it’s one of the biggest classics ever! I was always intimitated by the massive size of the book and the minimal font so I put off this read for a while. One of my resolutions for 2015 was to read Anna Karenina and, two months later, here we are! Oh and after a long time I can finally cross out another one of my The Classic Club list I made in the beginning of this blog!

There’s a lot of studied russian authors but one of the most known is Leo Tolstoy. This man live through the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, being present for a lot of changes in the culture and life in his country. His work has a wide range of themes and topics. War and Peace and Anna Karenina are the most popular.

This last book tells the story of russian society at the time, focusing on a lot of characters but especially Anna, a married woman who falls in love with another man, Count Vronksy, and becomes his mistress after the both elope without her getting a divorce.

The read of this book was a particular one to me. A dear friend of mine introduced me to the website livribox. There, a lot of volunteers that read out loud several classics and share them with no purchase needed. So, they do audiobooks. Some even have different voices for the different characters! They read classics because most of them are public domain by now and only this way they can make their service free. So, since the size of this book scare the living hell out of me and because it was too heavy for me to carry it around constantly,  I used this service. It was my first time listening to an audiobook and I absolutely love it! I found it more exciting to read and it kept more focused on the story. It was so much fun! I also read a few parts from my physical book but I loved listening to it way more. It’s definitely something I will continue to use!

I found this book one of the most complete classics I ever read! It deals with every single theme you can think of: love, parenthood, communism, agriculture, education and social hierarchy. All throughout the more than 250 chapters, I reflected on everything I could about life. That’s what a classic is all about (at least to me).

With some POVS I didn’t see the point of their existence. For a book called Anna Karenina, a lot of it isn’t spent with that character. A lot of the pages are with someone named Levin and their content is basically horses, farming and politics (and love but really occasionally). Those weren’t my favourites even though I did like the character of Levin. I don’t feel like I had any favourite characters throughout this book. I liked them a lot at several points and I completely despised them at others. But that only made me appreciate the book even more. The characters are super interesting and full of layers! All main ones have a good development, which is also an awesome note.

Ah but the best thing was how this book made me feel really glad for living in the 21st century! Yes, life is still hard for a lot of people but damn… Back then it was impossible. People couldn’t get divorce and neither have an affair. Some didn’t even marry for love. Some weren’t allow to have education because they were poor. I’m sad people used to live like that but I’m so so glad we evolved (in some places)! Don’t even get me started on how hard it should have been to be a woman… That could be a whole post itself.

Of course that I do feel that the book could be way shorter. The story seems to take the long way to develop itself and, as a reader not in love with huge books, I feel like that could be arranged and it would still be a hella of a classic. I also didn’t like the ending. It went for about 19 chapters after what I feel would be the perfect ending of the book. Nothing was gained with its extension. But that’s just what I felt and I’m sure Tolstoy was a brighter mind than me so he must have had his reasons.

I still really liked this classic. Yes, it took me forever and yes, there was a lot that I found boring but overall, it’s quite fun and sassy, which I always love in my classics. It’s also romantic and tragic which I don’t always love but I don’t mind once in a while. I know it’s a big one but I still recommend it if you feel like reading a big big book. Also, if you’re not feeling it, just know it’s ok to take breaks from it and read something else (like I did). It’s so much better than just forcing yourself to read!

I’m so proud of myself for finishing this book! My reading year was made! Yay me!

Here’s a beautiful quote:

But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.

Anyway, have you read this? Everyone I know that read this book really liked it but I want to know you guys opinions!

See you soon!

Cat.

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