It has to be mentioned that Anna Karenina is viewed by a lot of people as the perfect novel, and who am I to disagree? I have read it many times in numeorus traslations and so I feel that I should point out that this was translated by the late Constance Garnett. Because her translations are all out of copyright she is the world's most read English translator of Russian literature. It must be said that she did have a tendency to leave things out if she couldn't understand it and she did make alterations, mainly so that it would flow better in English. I know she has come in for a lot of criticism over the years but it should never be forgotten that she gave the reading public here and in the US translations of all the Russian greats and made them easily accessible for all.
Anna Karenina the novel, is absolutely brilliant, it holds you from the beginning, all the way throuh to the end. Taking us through such things as hypocrisy and jealousy, it takes us into a family and keeps us rooted in all the problems that it faces. If you have never read this before then now is definitely the time, if you have already read it, surely it is about time you read it again.
So remember, although this isn't the most accurate translation on the market, this is free and is easily readable, plus it does keep to the story, also the biggest complaints about her accuracy usually fall on her translations of Dostoevsky more than any other author.
on 3 February 2013
I was disappointed because the copy I downloaded is written in US 'English'. As an English teacher, I find this extremely irritating and it marred my reading experience. I am not reviewing Tolstoy's imaginative prose but the Kindle copy I bought (in error!) I should appreciate guidance as to how to avoid this happening for future downloads.
on 25 October 2012
I read this back when I was in sixth form and I just had to get it on my kindle for another read. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and if there's people who like classic love stories, not that fifty shades of grey rubbish. Definitely worth a read.
on 18 June 2012
Thank goodness for the Kindle- if it weren't for it I wouldn't have read Anna Karenina! I have a new found love of Leo Tolstoy. The character development is wonderful, each one fleshed out realistically and even sympathetically, and Tolstoy articulates feelings so incredibly well, so that you as a reader can understand the reactions, compatibilities/incompatibilities of the various characters. The social politics was also a very interesting and unexpected component in this work. The style of the translation i thought fitted the time at which the book was written; maybe in time I will try a more modern version, but for me this translation style complemented the story. Incredible literary work of art- I haven't felt this passionately about a book for more than a decade.
on 5 October 2015
Anna Karenina, what a testing individual... Very difficult to like or admire. As perhaps true of many of the characters in the novel - chiefly, pampered aristocrats and landowners indulging their petty urges. It's an uncompromising study of character and personality; all human pride, vanity and frailty exposed in forensic detail to the faintest thought and gesture. Written with the candour and insight of a privileged insider.
There are a number of universal personality types on display, which immediately offer the reader easy access. Oblonsky: superficial, fun-loving, sentimental, morally bankrupt; Vronsky: dashing army officer, successful, loved and admired, fatefully lovestruck; Karenin: serious, austere, respected bureaucrat, cuckold (emotionally stunted then traumatised); Koznyshev: the high-minded scholar, unsentimental, insular; Levin: the common man, often selfish and small-minded, beset by spiritual questions, socially awkward - yet, perhaps the most decent... And that's just the men.
The novel principally revolves around two romantic storylines, that of Levin/Kitty and Anna/Vronsky. It's emotionally charged throughout. The emotion is not always happy but it does feel authentic, if sometimes unremitting. Having said that, there are some deeply moving passages which do warrant all the attention Tolstoy lavishes on them: Nikolai Dmitrich's slow death; Levin and Kitty's wedding, for instance. I confess that I did find some sections a little laboured and surplus, such as the workings of Levin's farm - the threshing season. Also, the provincial Marshal elections Vronsky attends. I guess it's all part of the epic depiction of Russian life across the class divides though.
Ultimately, a highly readable, engaging novel. For such an epic it's strangely intimate. You really get inside the characters, especially the evolving ones (Levin, Karenin, Anna). And in Anna Karenina herself, Tolstoy has created a truly perplexing, infuriating and mysterious heroine.
on 3 August 2014
I had read reviews of this book before I started reading it so I knew that there were many chapters totally devoted to political ideas. Therefore anytime any of the characters 'went to the council' I knew to skim through the next few pages until we returned to the story. Even with doing this, I felt that the plot and the characters were there merely to serve the sociological debate, this idea was underlined when what happened to Anna was hardly touched upon.
I'm glad I read it, really just so that I can say I have, and I enjoyed learning more about Russian life at the turn of the century - their apparent obsession with all things English being quality that is aspired to surprised me. However, I would struggle to recommend it and I think that anyone who says it is their favourite book has probably never actually read it!
on 26 April 2016
I read War and Peace because I wanted to read it before watching the recent adaptation. I loved it so much that I wanted to keep reading Tolstoy and so, logically, turned to Anna Karenina. For me, Tolstoy's strength is in his immediately engaging and flawed characters, and their vulnerability forces me to take them under my wing. Because it's such a famous book, I knew how it ended before I picked it up. Nevertheless I was intrigued to see how that ending came about, and the story did not disappoint. He is still very relevant in terms of the secret to a happy and fulfilling life and focusing on what is important.
I skipped the parts about agriculture in nineteenth century Russia as this did not interest me and I didn't see what bearing it had on the fates of the characters.
I'm reading this book due to being part of a book club. I probably would never have read it if it wasnt a)for the club and b) its a free download on the kindle. While I appreciate that the free edition is probably not as well translated as the more expensive editions, the story itself that Tolstoy creates goes beyond the mere difference in translation. The way he weaves a very complex yet deeply stimulating image of Russian society, politics, economics, history, values etc, and how that impacts on the normal lives of various people is incredible and realistic. How I wonder what Tolstoy would make of our modern society now!
What I also love is how Tolstoy gives us not just the actions of the characters, but there innermost thoughts and feelings as well - including the odd dog or two!!! Utterly wonderful to feel and know exactly what each character is going through and when a character such as Anna does not think of something, it shows just how far into denial she really is.
I'm totally spellbound by this book and encourage others to eat it up too.
Its a free kindle download, so you'd be daft not too!
on 1 January 2011
The book is wonderful but the electronic version is awful. Why can't they use the wonderful new translation? This one is so clunky that it is almost painful. Made me want to read the book in the original Russian
on 27 August 2013
One cannot approach a novel of such status of Anna Karenina without preconceptions, expectations, and the tendency to mould ones mindset to conform to the traditional views of this exalted work.
For one, this reviewer does not intend to comment on the notion that Anna Karenina is the greatest novel ever. To do so would ignore the truth that one man's meat is another's poison. However, for those who want an insightful, panoramic, and realistic novel, Anna Karenina surely delivers.
It must be noted that the novel Anna Karenina has something of a deceptive title. The full title is Anna Karenina: A novel in 8 parts. The 8th part entirely concerns the character of Konstantin Levin, Tolstoy's self portrait, and to this reader at least, that was the more rewarding part of the novel.
The novels strengths is it's psychological insight, and the author's clear understanding of human emotions, wants, instincts, and social conformity. It's main flaw is it's title, which simply does not do justice to the wider novel, which is more of a panorama rather than a novel focused on a star crossed affair.
For this reader at least, the strength of the novel lay in the storyline with Levin, rather than the storyline of the title character.
This particular Kindle edition is a decent piece, and cannot be faulted in it's format, just a bit more spacing in between chapters and parts would have made it better.
When choosing one's preferred novel out of Tolstoy's two best known works, Anna Karenina and War & Peace, this reader opts for the latter, as it is longer, happier, and far more rewarding. However, Anna Karenina is still a worthy read, and perhaps a better option for those with less time on their hands.