Anna Karenina

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Anna Karenina

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May 18, 2008, 1:22pm

I hated Anna Karenina -- plodding, pointless, loooooong, and I felt the characters were pretty stupid and unlikable. It's certainly not that I hate the concept -- I adored Kate Chopin's The Awakening, which as near as I can tell is the exact same story, just told in 700 fewer pages and with more insight.

I hate hating books, so maybe someone can explain it to me. I'd like to know what I'm missing.

May 19, 2008, 12:48pm

I'll take a stab at this one, although I'm not sure the reasons I loved Anna Karenina will convince you to change your mind. For me it was a book very different from anything I'd read before. I quickly got immersed in the world of the novel--I read it during the final weeks of my Mom's illness, and through the time I was planning her funeral and all the assorted tasks, and the book gave me a different world to escape to that was very comforting (a friend had a similar experience when her mom died, but her comfort reads were Jane Austen). I was especially interested in Levin's world, as my mom's grandfather had been an intellectual and farm owner in Russia, so I imagined that I was learning some family history. I found all the characters potentially unlikable (to use your word), but I thought that made the book more interesting.

I liked the novel a lot, but it's not for everyone. LT would be so boring if we all liked the same things.

May 19, 2008, 6:01pm

I'll give it a shot too. I don't have the same very personal reasons as Nickelini, so perhaps that will make it easier for saturnine. With Tolstoy, the concept of his books isn't just the plot, it's also the characters. How they react, how they change. How they stay the same. The personae in his books are never black or white. They have their unlikable parts, each and every one of them. But Tolstoy describes them with so much affection, and love, that the reader is compelled to love them too. It's really a lesson: learn to love the world, with all its faults.