Why I must reread Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

I recently finished reading ‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy.

I enjoyed it but found it long and boring in parts. I was perplexed by this as I had read, prior to taking up the book, that some people were of the opinion that this was the greatest novel ever written.

Even allowing for the subjectivity of personal taste it must be admitted that it is a novel held in the highest regard in literature.

Yet I could not see it or could not see what all the fuss was about.

So, I embarked on a little bit of research, mainly on YouTube. And I have discovered there is a whole world of Anna Karenina and Tolstoy fans out there.

I will give it another read. And the next time I will not be deflected or deflated by preconceived notions.

One of the most obvious ones is that this novel is about Anna Karenina. Nothing could be further from the truth for the book features five or six characters equally.

And it is arguable that Levin is the most important character, and the one upon whom the book rests.

Levin is Tolstoy, apparently.

But the next time I tackle this long book-over 800 pages-the first thing I will bear in mind is this book is not about Anna Karenina and is not merely a Victorian romantic novel.

It is about many other issues such as Russian society, serfdom and the emancipation of serfs, the meaning of life, how we should behave, how to be happy, why we should be kind to each other, and many other issues.

Perhaps this is a case of being disappointed by a book because I was expecting one thing and it turned out to be quite something else. And while reading it I was looking for the one thing and missing, to any significant extent, the real topics and issues being dealt with in the book.

I’m looking forward to it already.

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