- Author Leo Tolstoy
I approached this with some trepidation, knowing it to be another long Russian book. It was surprisingly good. I said of War and Peace that I enjoyed the peace plot far more than the military sections, and Anna Karenina is just like W&P but with all the war taken out. There are still political and philosophical sections, but it’s really about the characters and their trying to make their way in the world.
I thought it was odd that the Anna of the title doesn’t appear at the start of the book, and in fact doesn’t appear at the end either. Although the story does follow her life, it’s really an ensemble piece - the intertwined relationships of families, lovers, ex-wives and husbands, and potential matches.
I liked that none of the characters were portrayed as perfect - they have their own insecurities and personality traits that grate. And it wasn’t a happy ending, it was like real life - sadness and joy, depression with some uplifting moments too. All in all, a bit of an undertaking, but not too bad at all.