Now the subject of a major new film adaptation from director Joe Wright ("Atonement", "Pride and Prejudice"), Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" is translated by award-winning duo Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky in "Penguin Classics". Starring Keira Knightley ("A Dangerous Method") as Anna Karenina, Jude Law ("Sherlock Holmes") as her husband ...
Now the subject of a major new film adaptation from director Joe Wright ("Atonement", "Pride and Prejudice"), Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" is translated by award-winning duo Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky in "Penguin Classics". Starring Keira Knightley ("A Dangerous Method") as Anna Karenina, Jude Law ("Sherlock Holmes") as her husband Alexei, Aaron Johnson ("Nowhere Boy") as Count Vronsky, and also starring Matthew McFadyen, Andrea Riseborough and Kelly Macdonald, this dazzling production of "Anna Karenina" is adapted for the screen by legendary playwright Tom Stoppard. Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike, and soon brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Konstantin Levin, a man striving to find contentment and meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself. Acclaimed as the definitive English version of Tolstoy's masterpiece, this edition contains an introduction by Richard Pevear and a preface by John Bayley. Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) spent his youth in wasteful idleness until 1851, when he travelled to the Caucasus and joined the army, fighting in the Crimean war. After marrying in 1862, Tolstoy settled down, managing his estates and writing two of his best-known novels, "War and Peace" (1869) and "Anna Karenina" (1878). "A Confession" (1879-82) marked a spiritual crisis in his life, and in 1901 he was excommunicated by the Russian Holy Synod. "William Faulkner, it's said, was once asked to name the three best novels ever. He replied: "Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina". If you don't recall why, rush to buy a fine new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky". (Boyd Tonkin, "Independent").
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A strange beauty of a book. If this describes Russia and her people, they are quite as much a mystery as before the book was opened. The descriptions of the countryside will make you feel the icy wind, the motives of the players-you will wonder if some people could ever be so self-centered. A little hard to relate to the material luxuries of nobility.
Dec 16, 2010
I love this book.
This book is an absolute classic and everyone should read it!
Aug 26, 2010
For the masses
It's very long (good lord, Tolstoy, calling you long-winded would be the understatement of the year) and there are many Russian names that sound alike and can be confusing, but this book is excellent. Remember that Tolstoy wrote for the masses, not the elite, and you'll gain a wealth of knowledge about Russian life during Tolstoy's day.
Sep 10, 2009
This might have been a great book
I was not able to read it since it was in the written in the Russian language. It is probably always best to read authors in their own language, but since I did not have time to learn Russian, I was not able to read it and placed it in the recycle bin.
Aug 22, 2007
An Essential Tragedy
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is a masterpiece that is both compelling and accessible despite its daunting length. The theme of adultery and its disastrous consequences, including Anna's resultant self-loathing, still has currency. Most novelists are content to do one thing well, but Tolstoy's mastery and novelistic skills are manifold: his intimate knowledge of characters, their interaction with society, his rendering of physical action. The horse racing and hunting scenes are thrilling. One almost believes that the word "omniscience" needed to be coined in order to describe Tolstoy's commanding, godlike narrative perspective.
Of course most remarkable is Tolstoy's creation of the title character, who with Flaubert's Madame Bovary, is a fully developed, credible female character. In fact Tolstoy's characters have that full dimensionality, what E.M. Forster referred to as "roundness," that is so satisfying to the reader, even observing the bemusement of children in the face of Anna and Count Vronsky's affair. The farmer Levin's marriage to Kitty, his preoccupations with land reform and God, serve as a kind of moral counterpoint to Anna's adultery, and signal the peasant discontent that would overturn the stability of pre-revolutionary, Czarist Russia in the next century.
Preceding Anna's suicide, her nervous breakdown prefigures modernist interiority to an uncanny degree. In the end, however, it is Anna's essential tragedy that raises Tolstoy's novel to its deserved classic status.
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