Anna Karenina (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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"One of the greatest love stories in world literature" (Vladimir Nabokov)
"Tolstoy's historical and human sweep is breathtaking. His vision, humanity and his knowledge that love and pain are at the heart of life is the most important of all the profound truths revealed in this great novel" (Jonathan Dimbleby)
"In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy got totally inside the mind of a woman who is prepared to lose everything for the sake of man and who is so much in love that she commits suicide. I don't like her as a woman, but I think it is a brilliant portrait, unequalled in literature" (Amanda Craig Independent)
"I've read and re-read this novel and every time I find another layer in the story" (Philippa Gregory)
"I first read Anna Karenina 20 years ago when travelling across the Peruvian desert on a long bus journey, and it has stayed with me ever since" (Hugh Thomson Independent)
'The greatest love story I've ever read' Andrew DaviesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What it certainly is not is dry or turgid. It flows easily and has you on the edge-it races on and one cannot put it down. I take i to the beach daily and am now nearly finished. The issues raised are as alive today as they were in 19th century Russia. Issues such as : love, infidelity, morality, divorce, love of ones children (even) -role of women in society-sex/politics/class/ etc. and all introduced seemlessly in a book that deals with the relationships between a group of people-some related and others not so. A beautiful woman who one assumes is the central character of the book, from its title, is but one in a maelstrom of relationships that are constantly changing over time. What is original I find is the way Tolstoy makes you try and identify personally with the feelings of each character at different junctures in their lives and you find your sympathies altering as they find themselves in changing circumstances.
The book is captivating from the outset and draws you in and makes you question even your own position and relationships. a feature of the book i find extremely clever is how Tolstoy makes characters forever changing under different circumstances-as we all do but maybe don't realise.
I haven't read any other reviews and have no idea if they see anything that i have in the work. It is one of the best reads and greatest books I have read, both in its style and substance.
At time of reading, I found the novel okay. The characters came alive on the page, and many of the scenes in the novel were beautifully delineated. But I found the pace too slow, and was bored by all Levin's socio-political musings on Russia at that time.
Months later, and I find that the book still resonantes in my mind. I find myself still thinking about Anna and her fate; about that excruciating moment where Karenin approaches total forgiveness and then veers away; about Dolly, Kitty and Oblonsky. About how different the world of Anna Karenina is from my own, in some ways, but still so relevant. And the differences are illuminating.
In this novel, Tolstoy manages to weave together a whole world of stories and people and events. I can't really describe it other than saying that it is a very very human story. Greater than the sum of its parts.
Don't read this book if you think you might become impatient 'getting through' it. It deserves better that that. But if you're reading these reviews wondering whether it's worth taking all that time to read one of the world's reputed classics, then my anonymous 25-year-old word, for what it's worth, is that yes, it definitely is.
The famous opening lines, as translated by the Maudes read thus:
"All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"
This is exactly how Tolstoy wrote it in the original Russian and it is exactly what he wanted the reader to understand.
However, the Peaver/Volkhonsky version translates Tolsoy's words slightly differently:
"All happy families are the same...etc"
This subtle difference may not not seem important but in fact it is very important. "Resemble" does not mean "the same" and the difference in approach to translation between the Maudes and Peaver is quite striking and makes a huge difference to the overall reading experience. While the Maudes give us, as near as possible, what Tolstoy actually wrote, given the sometimes impossible to translate differences between English and Russian, the Peavers give us the same story but not in the language that Tolstoy intended. What they give us is a slightly dry, modernised and ultimately flat reading of a what was once a beautifully written novel.
Garnett mis-translates the opening in her own fashion:
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
We may forgive Constance her errors simply because she was the one who first gave the great Russian writers to the English speaking world. But there are now better translations.
If you want to read Anna Karenina in language, nuance and meaning as intended by Tolstoy, read the Maude translation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Far too long and quite a lot of boring stuff about agricultural revolution. Essentially a story about a fallen woman, there is a lot that could have not been in this book. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Emma Fitzgerald
Most of people thinks that this book is the greatest roman of all times. And from one side they are right. Read morePublished 1 month ago by pliumpt!
Been meaning to get to this for years. Heard so much. It's an enormous read - both in wordage and scope. The intensity and emotional panorama are breathtaking. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kezia Marten
Anna Karenina is a lovely story by Tolstoy.. Some of the Russian names which hard to pronounce makes it a bit difficult to remember who's who; but its lovely the way he describes... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sapper