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In Anna Karenina, faith is challenged, bonds are broken, love dies and is reborn. Originally published in serial form between 1873 and 1877, the novel is set in the glamorous world of the aristocracy in nineteenth century Russia. It is the tale of a woman who is asked to help save a struggling marriage. When she arrives to help her sister's family, Anna Karenina, a respectable married woman, is introduced to a web of intrigue, passion, and transgression. One of Tolstoy's most famous works, Anna Karenina is a dramatic chronicling of the life of a family as it comes together, falls apart, and as its members discover and redefine themselves.
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Born into an aristocratic Russian family, Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was able to enjoy a life of luxury from the very first. Throughout his life, however, and perhaps inspired by personal losses from which even his financial comfort could not protect him, he remained intrigued by philosophical questions about the nature of human existence. Through military service and well into his career as a writer, Tolstoy sought higher truths and found the materialistic lifestyle of many around him to be quite empty. Best known for his novels Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy was an extremely prolific writer, with a full catalog of short stories, plays, and non-fiction to his name.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys' house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to her ...
Reviewed by roslyn on Dec 25, 2010
Of its time, yet timeless
I was surprised, and delighted, by how much I loved this novel. I'm not sure what I was expecting (more bitter tragedy, perhaps?), but I found myself engrossed in this fascinating, warmly lit, and intricately woven tale of stately life in 18th century Russia.
The characters were drawn with such care and detail, their lives felt entirely real to me, and I experienced their lives and loves almost as if they were my own. Realistic, too, were the struggles they faced - and the grand and mundane questions that occupied them.
This is a novel that foreshadows so much of what was to come in Russia - and in the world - in the 20th century. War, revolution, struggles between the classes, the mechanisation of agriculture, faith and what it means to be good - all these ideas and are explored with a sort of timeless honesty. The conversations between Levin and Oblonsky could be transposed to a modern dinner party and would still seem fresh.
Reviewed by dan72ros on Nov 25, 2008
All time favorite characters
I read this in a Russian Lit. course, in which I was the only non-English major. It blew my mind. Seriously. The depth of the characters, the subtle twists and the humor!
Probably the top five best books written.
Reviewed by DiDii13 on Jul 29, 2008
Reviewed by jengirl17 on Dec 16, 2009
classic lit but very long
I wanted to read this because it is a significant part of classic literature and I have never read any Tolstoy. It was quite long but I appreciated the detail that Tolstoy put into the descriptions of, well, everything. I really identified with the character of Levin, as I'm often fighting myself on my own personal philosophy of life. I feel very accomplished that I got through the book and look forward to conquering other works by Tolstoy.
Reviewed by evilbendyone on Mar 20, 2009
Just amazing, never read a book that describes such deeply felt emotions so well
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Ratings for 'Anna Karenina' by Tolstoy, Leo