Ok, people. After two weeks of silence, today I’m going for big one.
Lev Tolstoy considered ‘Anna Karenina’ the first novel he ever wrote (‘War and Peace’ was on a completely different level, he thought).
They say it’s the best book ever written.
‘They’ are Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Vladimir Nabokov and William Faulkner, among the others.
I think is one of the most wonderful stories ever written. The book itself, it’s possibly a bit long, but indeed flawless and, ultimately, close to perfection.
Then, there is that fantastic thing about classic Russian writers, as in how deeply and thoroughly they can unravel a character, with his rights and wrongs, until you can’t find a good character and a bad one, but everybody is equally good and bad, as the enemy everyone has within.
This is what Tolstoy does with Anna.
She is a well-known and appreciated lady of the Russian society, married to the distinguished Aleksandr Aleksandrovic, whom she loves fondly. She has a child, whom she loves fondly.
She has a life that couldn’t give her more.
Then, even though aware of the wrong she was doing, she falls.
She meets Vronskij and can’t resist the temptation and cheats on her husband, wasting her reputation in the society she loved so much.
Tolstoy also puts us in the Vronkij’s shoes, a soldier-Casanova, who already enchanted the young Kitty, leaving her longing for a proposal that never came, almost dishonouring her.
He’s young, dedicated to his career and indeed he never made any promise. Anyway, he can’t propose to Kitty, since he falls in love with Anna.
To be fair, she had her good share of responsibility: she received a proposal from the nice and honest Levin and she threw it away, because attracted by the charming Vronskij.
And Levin? He made the proposal, he got rejected and he gave up, against all advice.
Being Levin the closer character to Tolstoy, it’s easy to understand why the conflict is not only the romantic one, but a social and economic one, as well, which he explores with Stiva, Kitty’s father. Here, the harried life in the city clashes with the quiet and hardworking life of the country.
Well, I’m not going to write about the social and economic argument. I’m sure you can find books and books about it.
However, my friends, the love stories Tolstoy brings about are one of the most beautiful and deep insight in those loving people as you could possibly find.
Good chance there is, you’ll find yourself in there, as described by Tolstoy.
If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads
If you want to buy this book: Amazon