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Anna Karenina Read Along Part 1 and 2

I admit, I struggled a bit with Anna Karenina at first.  The opening line is a doozy, and puts us right in the middle of the drama.

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Whoa! Alrighty then Count Tolstoy. In spite of my initial misgivings, I have been thoroughly enveloped by the story. Now I want to see what’s happening between Anna and her husband, to see whether or not Levin will man up a bit and pursue Kitty, or if Oblonsky will ever stop being a twit. There is ALOT of story here. And I will confess, it is occasionally a challenge trying to follow all the characters with thier multiple names and deeply intertwined lives, but its worth it.

Tolstoy has this way of revealing the character’s inner thoughts which adds an unexpected depth to the story, and to the character. Without the thoughts of Karenina he would seem a very one note character, but because we see what he is thinking and feeling, he doesn’t seem as out of the know or as uncaring as Anna would have us believe.

As much as I have become enveloped in the story, I continue to have my reservations. Tolstory seems to have a very dark outlook on things (think back to the opening line) and honestly, there are parts of Russian society I don’t understand. Are discreet affairs okay among the aristocracy but obvious ones unacceptable? Why is any affair acceptable?

The timing is clearly pre-Revolution, but is the Revolution beginning to build at this point among the peasants? What is the point of the zemstvo that Levin refuses to be involved in? So many questions…but I suppose I’ll just need to read on to see if Tolstoy answers any of my questions.

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5 thoughts on “Anna Karenina Read Along Part 1 and 2

  1. there seems to be some sort of standard among the bourgeois when it comes to personal conduct when having extramarital affairs. personally, i don’t think affairs are acceptable. it does more harm than good. just sayin’.

  2. I guess that it is common that reading a classic can be daunting at first. Getting used to a new style of language, setting and lifestyle is difficult. I remember my first Jane Austen book, Pride and Prejudice, and the time that I had with the language. I ended up loving it though.
    Good point that Tolstoy has a dark view point, but I find that to be entertaining in fiction. One of my favorite stories is Ethan Frome. Talk about a downer.
    Great post.

  3. I was also wondering about the affair thing. I wonder how so many people know about it as well? Sure they spend time together, which probably relates to a relationship in those days?…

  4. I agree that Tolstoy does an amazing job developing these individuals. They are not just caricatures. I’m thrilled with the book so far and can’t wait to continue onward.

  5. fredamans on said:

    I’m with you on the reservations… but we’ll see how the story progresses.

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