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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novel of two halves
Anna Karenina is a wonderful novel. Its tragic tale of adulterous love in 1870s Russia is deservedly a classic the world over. Tolstoy excels at grasping the psychology of his characters and his depiction of Anna and Vronsky's love affair is moving and captivating as a result. He also wraps into that affair a cutting commentary on the society of his day, which is what...
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by Oracle

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not the world's best novel
Somewhere in this vast sprawling tome is a halfway-decent tale trying to get out, though why Anna has kill herself heaven only knows. The whole of Moscow and Petersburg society seemed to be at adultery, so her shame is imagined. Nor is Tolstoy's prose style anything to write home about (I'm not the first to say this), and as for his interminable fascination with agronomy...
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novel of two halves, 13 Mar 2011
By 
Oracle - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Anna Karenina (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Anna Karenina is a wonderful novel. Its tragic tale of adulterous love in 1870s Russia is deservedly a classic the world over. Tolstoy excels at grasping the psychology of his characters and his depiction of Anna and Vronsky's love affair is moving and captivating as a result. He also wraps into that affair a cutting commentary on the society of his day, which is what separates a great novel from a merely good one.

However, as much as I liked Anna Karenina's story, the novel as a whole was let down for me by its parallel narrative following the trials and tribulations of countryside landowner, Levin. The sections involving Levin, a proxy for Tolstoy, are preachy and long-winded. Levin can do no wrong in Tolstoy's eyes and it's easy to get irritated by his idealistic views of peasant life and his sentimental courtship of saccharine Kitty.

The Levin sections, which take up around half the novel, cause the story to drag in places which is why I felt I couldn't award it a perfect score. Anna's story may be a great one, but as a whole novel it failed to live up to other nineteenth-century stories of adultery, Madame Bovary and The Scarlet Letter.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes! it is one of the greatest stories ever written, 11 April 2006
By 
Room For A View - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
For the relatively small expenditure of a few pounds I immersed myself, for several days, in one of the most magnificent examples of art available in any medium. To add to the hype seems superfluous. The story holds its own dignity amongst many fine examples in world literature. Tolstoy's exceptional talent captures the vast expanse of human experience and thought through the lives and loves of some of the most finely crafted fictional characters ever created. The subtlety of this work lies in the manner in which the various characters interact within the moral constraints of the novel's setting: the aristocratic playground (Petersburg, Moscow and the rural estate) of late Tsarist Russia. For such an immense country the few privileged members of Russian (suffocatingly nepotistic) Society are able to attract the best jobs, lucrative marriages and most of the agriculturally profitable land. This sphere of wealth, power and social dominance infects all Tolstoy's characters with varying degrees of hilarity, wit, intelligence, irony, angst, bitterness and sadness. Some of the best examples of Tolstoy's art are to be found at the races, in the spa resort, the deathbed scene, local authority elections and during the many 'intellectual' debates. But Tolstoy's real literary magic and the force driving forward the story are manifested in the internal thoughts and physical quirks of the main characters. Attributes we all possess and can recognise. It is this aspect of the novel that I adored the most; at times the emotional intensity was overwhelming.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie even better book!, 24 Oct 2012
By 
Moxy (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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Seeing the movie sent me back to Tolstoys novel. What a joy it is. It gives a good insight to pre-revolutionary Russia and an understanding of why the the revolution had to be. Tolstoy gives us a glimpse into the pyschology of the ruling classes that was to lead to their distruction. What he tells us of the role of society women at that time in Russia is classic of the time - virgin, mother, whore (plus ca change). It is a truly romantic read and inevitable a tragedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant, 7 July 2011
This review is from: Anna Karenina (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
At the risk of sounding completely full of it - I do think that Anna Karenina is the greatest novel ever written and my personal favourite. I'm a huge fan of nineteenth century fiction and love all the classics, Jane Eyre being another great favourite but I think Anna Karenina really outshines so many of its contemporaries. I think Tolstoy here creates characters who we all know and love in our own lives and places them in circumstances which we can all relate to. When I first read this novel I was in my teens and found Levin extremely boring and just wanted to be completely immersed in the tragedy of Anna. However every time I come back to this novel this changes and I can take a new reading from it (the mark of a great novel). Other characters start to really stand out for me and as I got older I began to sympathise and relate to Levin's struggles. The sheer scope of this novel is one of its greatest achievements. With War and Peace you can't help but feel overwhelmed by the size and scale of it but here Tolstoy manages to reign that in and in so doing he paints a much smaller but equally detailed picture.

Anna Karenina has to be one of the best heroines ever put on paper. Here we have a woman in 19th century Russia willing to turn her back on her family and fortune even abandoning her young son and all for a complete rascal! (A sexy rascal it has to be said, but a bit of a waster if we're honest with ourselves.)
However having said all that the strength of the novel lies within its host of characters, and although named after its heroine this novel is about so much more.

This really is a timeless classic. Do not let the size of it put you off!

Fingers crossed that then new movie out next year will do it justice! I really can't see Knightley in the lead role but hopefully she'll pull it off.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time best classics, 26 Nov 2013
By 
Peter Jones (Springfield, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Anna Karenina (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Anna Karenina is a remarkable story by one of the few mega-novelists of all times. In every way, it is an ageless story that is more real than fiction. I decided to read a copy of this book on my way to vacation last the summer and ended up spending most of my first week being glued to the book. Though it is a Russian story of a century and a half ago, its essence still resonates today.

Anna who is married to the wealthy and older Karenin lives a life of comfort without any excitement, a life that is full of routines and no zest. It is a life she had become used to until she meets the elegant Vronsky and falls in love. Now she must pay the price of adultery or seek marital stability and forgo the echoes of her heart, a soul searching trial that destabilizes the life of her family and that of her lover. In essence she abandons the meaning for her life and pursues the zest of life.

On the other hand is Levine who is in search of the meaning of life and abandons the zest of life for a purposeful life that includes a family, ideas on the advancement of humanism, being at peace with ones world and hard work in is farm and being at peace with God.

In a way, both Levine and Anna can not be blamed for opting considering one choice above the other. They all wanted happiness without having evil intentions and found a balance between the zest of life and the search of its meaning in their own different ways, hurting and find love in the process and in the end, enriching and destroying themselves in their different ways. A highly recommended read and the most insightful love story I have ever read.The Union Moujik , Doctor Zhivago , Eugene Onegin are some of the other books set in Russia that I enjoyed alongside Anna Karenina.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not the world's best novel, 13 Oct 2013
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Somewhere in this vast sprawling tome is a halfway-decent tale trying to get out, though why Anna has kill herself heaven only knows. The whole of Moscow and Petersburg society seemed to be at adultery, so her shame is imagined. Nor is Tolstoy's prose style anything to write home about (I'm not the first to say this), and as for his interminable fascination with agronomy and apparent bucolic bliss, dear oh dear. Turgenev paints a very different picture of poverty, filth and malicious hatred in the Russian countryside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 1 Sep 2013
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A lengthy challenge but worth it! Complex but thrilling plot you truly feel in the characters world of imperial Russia
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anna karenina, 2 Mar 2013
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This is one of the most moving, interesting and beautifully written books that I have had the pleasure of reading.The story completely captures the Iife of Russia the time, not only the aristocracy but also the peasants who worked in the countryside. The love story is compelling. I would recommend Anna Karenina to anyone interested in life in Russia in the 19th century and who also enjoys a love story that can move them to tears.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 14 Feb 2013
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Anna Karenina is an absolute classic. Hard work reading it and remembering all the names ......... and certainly not a book to read right through in one go, but a great work
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 28 Jan 2013
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Thanks to my recently acquired Kindle, I have finally read this epic masterpiece and I loved it! Some of the descriptive passages are sublime and Tolstoy's handling of character and plot is masterful. I didn't want to leave the world he evoked. I am so glad I read it now and not in my teens when I read so many classics. His portrayal of Anna's descent into depression was a bit close to the bone and her stream of consciousness before her suicide was ahead of its time. Just one criticism and that is about the serious typo errors in the first part of the book. I contacted Oxford World Classics but they were uninterested. I hope Amazon pick this up as it needs addressing. Please make sure that your e versions are proof checked.
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Anna Karenina (Oxford World's Classics)
Anna Karenina (Oxford World's Classics) by Leo Tolstoy (Paperback - 8 May 2008)
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