Book Review

ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy

Rating: 3.5 / 5

ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy was January’s pick for the #classicsbuddyread hosted by @freefallinreader. I had received this gorgeous copy of the book in a Coffee and a Classic subscription box some months back so was very pleased to have the chance to cross this one off my TBR, even if I was a bit intimidated by the 800 page Russian classic.

ANNA KARENINA takes a look at Russian society, following an interconnected cast of characters and their relationships. The title character is a woman who feels trapped in a loveless marriage who finds love with Count Vronsky and is swept up in a scandalous affair. Her brother has recently been caught in infidelity himself and is attempting to overcome it to keep his marriage together. Levin is a farmer helplessly in love with a woman who expected to wed Vronsky.

First published in 1877, I expected this to be a more intimidating read than it wound up being. The book actually started out very strong for me and very approachable. The Russian names (of which there are many due to the large cast of characters, each with formal names and more intimate nicknames to keep track of) were a bit of a stumbling point initially but I quickly caught on and found this to actually be a pretty quick read early on. Finding a family tree to explain the relationships was also a help.

There were some tough sections to get through. Levin while a favorite character for a while did have a tendency to ruminate on his love of farming and mowing in a way that became a bit tiresome in places, but I didn’t find there were too many places where I lost interest.

Where the book began to lose me was around the halfway mark. As you can probably see from the brief plot summary I provided this is a book that centers on drama that feels very much like a soap opera. As the book continued and relationships became a bit more settled, the internal drama of the characters and their over the top insecurities really took off to a point where it was a bit too much for my tastes.

I really am glad that I was able to check this one off my TBR!

Reading Challenges:

#popsugarreadingchallenge: a book with a great first line

#MMDChallenge: a classic you didn’t read in school

8 thoughts on “ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy”

  1. I love Anna Karenina. I actually received the nickname “Tolstoy” a ton of years ago because I was reading it during my lunch breaks at work (when I worked retail). Someone gave me a hard time, “You’re reading that for PLEASURE?” and nicknamed me Tolstoy. Heh.

    Liked by 1 person

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