The Sunday Review: Anna Karenina

I have been hearing about Anna Karenina for most of my adult life and have been dreading reading it for the same amount of time. Tolstoy just didn’t seem to be my kind of author, although I do love the Victorian American classics.

When the movie started being advertised, I knew that I had to read the book first so that I could adequately compare the two. The book, while having a strong plot wrapped around the seven main characters, failed to really engage me and it was slow-going at times. Tolstoy’s diversions into politics and social struggles often seemed unconnected to the main story lines, and the last section was very disappointing. Talk about a flat ending after an interesting penultimate chapter — trying not to write a spoiler here if you haven’t read it.

I can see why the book endures as a classic, but it wasn’t my favorite and I know for sure I’m not reading War and Peace. Maybe it was the translation I read, as others have mentioned, but although I’m glad I finally read it, I’m also glad it’s over with.

Interestingly, I haven’t been able to get anyone interested in seeing the movie with me, so I may have to wait until it comes out on video. That’s a shame, as I’m sure the movie version with the luminous Keira Knightley is a masterpiece of cinematography and deserves to be seen on the big screen. Or maybe one of these afternoons I’ll just go by myself; that is one of the prerogatives of retirement, after all.

Leave a comment about dear old Anna if you’d like, and thanks for stopping by to visit!

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