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Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Scritto da Leo Tolstoy

Narrato da Kate Lock


Anna Karenina

Scritto da Leo Tolstoy

Narrato da Kate Lock

valutazioni:
4/5 (313 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
41 ore
Pubblicato:
Mar 1, 2010
ISBN:
9789629549343
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

Anna Karenina is beautiful, married to a successful man, and has a son whom she adores. But a chance meeting at a train station in Moscow sets her passionate heart alight, and she is defenceless in the face of Count Vronsky’s adoration. Having defied the rules of nineteenth-century Russian society, Anna is forced to pay a heavy price. Human nature, with all its failings, is the fabric of which this great and intense work is composed. Anna Karenina has been described as the perfect Russian novel. Translated by Aylmer and Louise Maude.
Pubblicato:
Mar 1, 2010
ISBN:
9789629549343
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is the author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and other classics of Russian literature.


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  • (4/5)
    I saw the movie and thought I would listen to the book. Very enjoyable as an audiobook although very long so it was great for painting my walls. The narrator does a fantastic job with the emotions of the characters. A very good classic.
  • (4/5)
    First, I started this book 4ish years ago. I would read a chunk of it, than stop for awhile, and pick it up a few months later. Its not an easy read - mostly because it seems like the names keep changing. I understand, what a person in Russia is called is dependent on the relationship, but its difficult. It took me awhile to figure it out. It also helped that the last third of the book had less characters. It would have helped to have a list of full names for the characters. Its a difficult book, but the pay off is immense if you can stick with it.This next part has spoilers, so, read at your own risk.Anne Karenina isn't necessarily about Anna - although the other characters revolve around her. This is a story about relationships. Good relationships, bad relationships and how society views relationships depending on gender. Anna is bored wife of a bureaucrat. Her husband provides for her, and lets her do her own thing, he doesn't make her a part of his life, basically ignoring her until he needs her presence. Anna is intelligent, beautiful, and make a whole room light up when she walks in. When she meets a military man named Vronsky, her whole world is turned upside down. He is a cad, leading young women on, and than dropping them as soon as he looses interest. But, Anna seduces him - even after she denies him, he continue to pursue and eventually Anna gives in. Her husband tries to make it work, but the allure of Vronsky calls - Anna eventually leaves him for Vronsky. But, Anna is still not free. Until she is granted a divorce, she is only a mistress and is ostracized from society, living a lonelier life than before. Eventually, this gets to her and she commits suicide by throwing herself before a train.The next couple is Dotty and Oblansky. Oblansky is Anna's brother, and like to spend money, dote on ballerina's, and gamble. Dotty holds the family together - making sure that there is money for the most basic of upper-class necessities. She considers divorcee him a number of times throughout the book, but it would leave her in a similar state as Anna, even though she would be in the right of the law.The last couple is Kitty and Levin. Kitty is Dotty's sister, and she was the young girl Vronsky led on right before Anna. Kitty ends up sick from the whole experience, but ultimately recovers when Levin ultimately proposes to her. They are the perfect couple, in love, and able to talk through problems, understanding each other's personalities, the good and the bad. These three couples form the core of what Anna Karenina is about. There is also a large parts of the book devoted to Levin's thoughts about peasantry, land management, pointlessness of the upper-class life in Moscow, and belief in God. I'm still pondering what this adds to the book, because it seems not to add anything, and at times, its overwritten and tends to ramble. I do think Levin is based off of Tolstoy and his life, but large chunks of this could have been removed to no effect of the rest.
  • (5/5)
    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So begins this novel, with one of it’s most famous lines, but only one of many in which the author makes broad and though-provoking statements about human nature. Anna Karenina is a study of relationships, love, and adultery - especially Anna’s passionate affair with Count Vronsky. This simple description of the plot, however, hides the truly staggering depth of the novel. Along with Vronsky and Anna’s relationship, the many other romantic relationships presented raise questions about the nature of love; about the way society views men and women differently for their romantic choices; and about what it means to be happy.The writing in this book was a pleasure to read, one of those books were you savor the sentences. The author is often funny, dry, or witty in his insights into human nature. The characters are all amazingly well developed, with both good and bad qualities and believable motivations. Even when characters don’t seem very sympathetic at first, Tolstoy does an incredibly job pulling you into each character’s world view and making you feel for them. The relationships are as complex as the characters and could be difficult to follow. Fortunately, Tolstoy introduces characters clearly and slowly so his readers can keep up. My only complaint would be that he often uses full names, titles, and Russian nicknames for characters, which does make it harder to keep track of who is who.One complaint you’ll often hear about this novel, is that Tolstoy enjoys his digressions. There are hunting expeditions, local elections, and so many character’s philosophical musings, none of which advance the romantic plots that pulled me in. Some of these didn’t bother me, since I enjoyed the book for the author’s study of human nature. Still, I was going to give this novel four stars for the philosophical discussions of things that interest me less than love and relationships, such as the Russian economy. But when I sat down to write the description, I realized that this was a novel so good, I didn’t feel I could do it justice in my description. Anna’s bravery and passion for life captured my heart, as she has the hearts of so many others. Read this one for the characters, the commentary on life, but mostly for the experience of meeting Anna because no one but Tolstoy can really do her justice.
  • (4/5)
    (Original Review, 1981-02-24)If you're not familiar with the The Orthodox Church's intricacies, don't bother reading the novel. It might also to understand the social context in which Anna Karenina is set, which Tolstoy doesn't explain because he was writing for fellow members of the Orthodox Church who would have understood the particular nuances. For Russian society at the time, an immoral act was one that offended all Creation and therefore God himself - it is quite common for Russian priests even now to admonish those confessing to serious sins by telling them that they are 'spitting in Christ's face'. Yet there are subtleties to Anna's predicament that are probably lost on Westerners: unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which forbids divorce for any reason, the Orthodox Church permits this where a marriage has irrevocably broken down, on the basis that it was never based on true love in the first place and thus null and void. So in the novel it is only Karenin's pride (which for the Orthodox is the greatest sin of all) that stands in the way of dissolving his tragically unhappy marriage. Anna's action challenges the hypocrisy of society and she brings down the anger of the hypocrites upon herself because she has the barefaced cheek to expect people to behave towards her as they did before her "fall" from grace. Her "friends", such as the poisonous Princess Betsy, desert her because she is an uncomfortable reminder of their own failings.In fact, I'd go a little further and suggest that the absence of clearly defined mores has led to the proliferation of petty judgementalism infiltrating every aspect of life. It's like Jacques Lacan said about Dostoyevsky's famous quote, ('If God is dead, everything is permitted'), accurately turning it around to say "If God is dead, nothing is permitted." And so we all throw the first stone at one another...The great Victorian judge and political philosopher James Fitzjames Stephen said that the main deterrent to crime is not the law, but public opinion. He was right. One of the reasons Arab countries have such a low crime rate is that a thief would be shunned by his family and wider community. The most judgmental people I know are self-described non-judgmentalists: they hate (straightforwardly) judgmental people, i.e. people with personalities, who don't have to cling on to PC BS in order to create a persona for themselves.PS. Something I didn't know until recently was that Vronsky, like Levin, was based on Tolstoy's own experiences. He represented Tolstoy's own shallow, artificial lifestyle that he gave up and was ashamed of. Vronsky is mature, attractive and amoral. He sees nothing wrong with pursuing a married woman because society's hypocrisy allows for that, but he gets in deeper than he intended. Not the deepest of characters, but Vronsky's casting in this film was absolutely ridiculous.
  • (1/5)
      This book was definitely not written for me. I'm glad I can say I finally read it, well listened to the audiobook, but that's about all I can be thankful for. The narrator had a pleasing voice and did a good job on the reading. I just didn't like the book. It was very boring in my opinion and just didn't interest me.
  • (5/5)
    great way to kick off '09. loved it. probably in my top 10 favorite books ever if i kept a list like that..
  • (3/5)
    ** spoiler alert ** We all know Tolstoy could write. His prose is beautiful, giving you glimpses into the minds and feelings of his characters and creating settings that feel real and tangible. The narrative builds in an engaging and entertaining way with progressions that make sense and seem realistic, even at our historical remove.That being said: my goodness, this book was unwieldy. I blazed through the first half and then slowly dragged my way through the rest. Excellent writing only carries me so far, particularly when I find it so difficult to connect with any of the characters in a serious way. Levin was endlessly irritating and self-important. Anna is an immensely sympathetic character, her internal monologue is one of the most realistic representations of severe depression I’ve ever read. That being said, I find it hard not to feel Vronsky and Anna are the architects of their own destruction. I guess that’s the point, but I still struggled with them both.I hated the decision to continue the book after Anna’s death. I couldn’t help but feel the emotional impact of her death was lost by refocusing on Levin. Those final chapters feel superfluous and disruptive to the symmetry of the story. Frankly, it seems a disservice to Anna. To me, the book is her narrative and closing it out with her last thoughts would have been a more appropriate conclusion to the story that bears her name.
  • (4/5)
    If your only acquaintance with Anna Karenina in the movies, just be aware that she is NOT the heroine of this very long book. Anna is the example of what a woman should bot be.. Instead, the real heroine is Princess Kitty, the young woman who is initially in love with Count Vronsky, but ultimately marries Levin who is clearly Tolstoy's alter ego as Tolstoy has Levin spouting page after page of Tolstoy's own half-baked theories on the superiority of rural over urban life and the superiority of the peasants over the aristocrats.Kitty comes to realize that she needs to exchange her city luxuries for the simpler country life and in caring for Levin's tubercular. brother at the end of his life, Levin comes to recognize her superior nature.Anna, in her obsessive love of Vronsky becomes a harridan, and in the end, outcast from polite society, ends her life. Once you wade through all of Tolstoy's philosophy, you realize why the movies boiled the story down to its tragic essence.
  • (2/5)
    This book was not for me! I listened to the audio book and had to check it out multiple times in order to get through it. I even sped up the track to get through it faster. I didn't like any of the characters and I didn't enjoy any of the politics. I know some people love this book but, again, it wasn't for me. I pushed through it just because it is on the "Must Read" lists.
  • (5/5)
    On the surface, this is a family novel, interweaving the stories of seven characters who are related or connected by marriage. At the time that Tolstoy wrote the novel, this was an odd choice. According to the notes in the beginning of my book, the family novel was hopelessly out of fashion in the 1870s. However, within the constraints of the genre, Tolstoy writes a novel that both tells a story and explores deep themes - themes of life and death, faithfulness and adultery, tradition and modernization, wealth and class. The interweaving of story and theme helped the novel maintain its pacing. I enjoyed it most when I had time to sink into large chunks of it. Reading it in small pieces wasn't nearly as satisfying. I was surprised to learn that the novel initially centered primarily on Anna, her husband Alexei, and her lover Count Vronsky. Their story is a tragic one. In a marriage filled with privilege and devoid of passion, Anna turns to Count Vronsky for love. It is through this triangle that Tolstoy explores society's reaction to Anna's actions, Alexei Karenin's ineffectual attempts to stop the affair, and the challenges that Vronsky and Anna face in being together. While Tolstoy attempts to show each character's side in this story, the result was that I found no one's side worth taking. I appreciated Tolstoy's portrayal of the relationships, but had no one to root for. This relationship was balanced by the relationship between Kitty and Levin. The prominance of these characters did not come until later drafts of the novel, but they serve as a brilliant contrast to Anna and Vronsky, finding love that grows deeper throughout the novel. Levin is an autobiographical character, and through him, Tolstoy shares his own social commentary on issues of farming, government, and religion (although at times this parts were a bit long). My favorite parts of the novel were the emotional scenes at a death bed, a birth, or a life-changing decision. It was in these passages that Tolstoy's writing was distilled and his characters came alive. While he was clearly a philosopher and a master of social commentary, it was in his role as storyteller that Tolstoy crossed centuries and spoke directly to me.
  • (3/5)
    I ended up not liking AK all that much, the constant philosophical debates, and introspective musings, got on my nerves big time. Really? All those pages for all that?I gave it three stars as it is a classic, Tolstoy certain can write well, and there are some redeeming qualities in terms of character development and the plot lines. But "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".
  • (3/5)
    Well, by today's standards, I think most readers would put this book down and not finish it. Tolstoy goes to great lengths to describe scenes, emotions, character physique and personality quirks that really don't add to the story, but they help to paint an elaborate picture in the mind of life in Russia in the 1800's. For me, it was a great lesson in using detail to enhance a story. But, I think Tolstoy lost some balance in storytelling and painting a picture with words.Tolstoy should have ended the book earlier after the climax.The vocabulary and diction were superb.
  • (4/5)
    This is a great translation with wonderful notes.
  • (4/5)
    I have always enjoyed crime and action novels, but having reached the age of 75 feel that it is time to catch up on the classics. Leo Tolstoy is one of my targets at the moment and AK seemed to be the best place to start. It was long (even on my Kindle!) and philosophical, but I enjoyed Tolstoy's views on life, love and Russian politics. He uses the character Levin to out pour his rather verbose view on religion and life and I found this a bit trying to get through at times. His story could have ended with the demise of Anna, but unfortunately carried on for too many more pages. I am glad that I have mastered this classic!
  • (4/5)
    Epic, certainly. I felt confused for the first half of the novel as to why it is considered such a great book but the second half was so incredibly engaging. I developed strong feelings for the characters (not necessarily of love) and questioned my own understanding of relationships, society's morality, and faith. I'm still reeling a bit from the philosophy and questions of the character Levin and have continued to feel no sympathy or warmth for the novel's namesake, Anna Karenina. What an interesting book.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for a book club. I almost quit immediately as it starts out with a political meeting and discussion. I found these to be least appealing parts of the book, and the mowing, and Levin's philosophing on religion.

    Other than those areas, I enjoyed the character development and various storylines.

    I did expect much more to happen than it actually did. It's not an "eventful" piece but worth reading nonetheless.
  • (5/5)
    This book is much more than a look at adultery. Tolstoy wrote a novel around eight characters that develop throughout the novel. Their stories entwine and grow with interest that will keep you engaged the whole time. I really enjoyed the ability of Tolstoy to capture characters that struggle with their relationships and why they actually act in ways counter to their desires. So true to life.A warning that there are chapters focused on politics and philosophy of labor, that may be unattractive to the general reader.By far one of my top 50 novels of all time.
  • (4/5)
    I won't bother trying to summarise Anna Karenina, as that's probably been done way too many times by people who do it much better than me. Falling in love, falling out of love, jealousy, finding meaning in life, losing the meaning in ones life, the meaning of religion, etc. etc. It's all in there. Various philosophies of farming is even covered in rather considerable debt. That is also part of the problem with this book. I don't mind long books, in fact, I rather like them, but this one just got a little too long.Mind you, it is easy to see why it is long. The story is very much driven by the characters in it, making it necessary to spend a long time describing the characters and their thoughts. This results in my favourite aspect of the book: the character's actions are very believable most of the time. Because the reader knows the characters rather well, the way in which they react to situations seems natural. The characters are all quite different, and much time is spent describing their outlook on life, their thoughts on the world and other important matters. During most of the book this becomes a natural part of the story, as, after all, the story is driven based on the character's outlooks on these very things.Unfortunately the book ends a little too late. I didn't mind it going on for a bit after the obvious place in which it could have ended, but personally I feel like the ending, in a sense, resolved something which I think would have been better left unresolved. It doesn't help matters that the only justification for the last 60 pages seemed to be the author's desire to make the very point I didn't want to see made. Overall though, I rather liked Anna Karenina, but it is possible that I might have liked an abridged version better. And this is the first time I have thought that about a book.
  • (5/5)
    The thing about Tolstoy is that his novels are life engrossing because they try to capture so much of life in their pages. While this is most apt of "War and Peace," it also holds true of the more focused novel "Anna Karenina." The plot focuses on love, its various forms, its relation to social expectations and its consequences, but the characters take on a far broader range of concerns. Levin, whose plotline parallels Anna's throughout, is most often engaged with work on his farm. These scenes provide not only a picture of rural and peasant life to balance Anna's circles, but provide the opportunity for thematic engagement with the "big questions" of the day.This is a tendency of Tolstoy's that I find particularly charming. He naturally brings essentially academic debates into the novel without losing the momentum of the story. The key is that he is able to craft conversations about these issues that are typically working at two levels. First, and most obviously, the characters themselves debate the topic. Second, and perhaps most crucially, Levin (who is often interpreted as a self-portrait of Tolstoy) has a dialogue with himself about the conversation and his interlocutors. This keeps grounding the conversation, which prevents it from losing touch with the rest of the plot. At the same time, Tolstoy does not shy away from presenting ideas in a challenging and nuanced way in the conversation, and trusts the reader to work through it. It is a step forward from "War and Peace," where the thematic questions were addressed in essays divorced from the narrative.That said, it is easy to see how some readers might become lost in the scope of the novel, or frustrated with the pace of it. Like many novels of its time, this was originally a serial, and it is quite lengthy. To really fall in love with this novel, as I did, requires that you settle into it. If you are reading it simply to find out what happens to Anna, Vronsky and Karenin, the scenes grappling with Russian agriculture and labor are bound to frustrate. If, however, one reads it in order to live in its Russia, then these scenes are highly enriching and rewarding. There are two principle themes of the novel that I found worth reflecting on. The first and most obvious is that of love. On one hand, you have the story of Anna's love for Vronsky, and the social ruin it leads them into. On the other, you have Levin's love for Kitty, and the ultimate joy that results. Around these two plotlines are numerous other relationships (requited and not), such as those between Dolly and Oblonsky, Anna and her children, and Koznyshev and Varenka. He does not paint a single portrait of love in a relationship, but many of them.What strikes me most forcefully is how skeptical Tolstoy is about the "power of love." At first glance, one might expect this to be a tragedy about society stamping down upon Anna and Vronsky's love, a tragedy which hinges on the assumption that this love is worth preserving. Anna's descent and ultimate fate, however, develop when she only has that love to sustain her. Both Anna and Levin experience profound and irrational jealousy, but it only consumes Anna. The reason seems to be that Anna has no outlet, nothing else to give her life meaning and structure. Levin has his work and his philosophical reflection. When Anna cannot pursue life outside of her relationship with Vronsky, she suffocates. Social judgment creates that stifling situation, but it is ultimately her love for Vronsky that is so damaging. I found this to be a profound reflection on the role of love in a whole life, one that stands in stark contrast with so many cliches about someone's love being all we need for sustenance.The second theme worth pausing on is the importance of genuineness. I was particularly struck by this when Levin visited his dying brother Nikolai. At first he refused to allow Kitty to come, because he assumed that her decision was strictly out of self-interest (which hearkened back to Levin's own egoist contentions earlier in the novel). He realizes that he was wrong, and that he cannot help his own brother because he would be self-conscious throughout. He'd be fake, and his brother would recognize it. Kitty can help, because her help is genuine. As someone who frequently struggles with self-consciousness, I found this pressing and troubling. Does really living life require that one be fully immersed in it? Is self-consciousness really a form of false consciousness that we develop based on social expectation? Can self-conscious reflection, such as on one's moral motives (as in Kant), actually render actions more genuine? I did not find Levin's answers to be compelling, but I found his questions to be more than worth reading the novel for.I've only but briefly touched on the depths here. It is a massive novel, and a towering success. Its common accolades as one of the greatest novels, are well deserved. Spending a week, a month, or a year in Tolstoy's Russia, and in Anna and Levin's company, is time well spent.
  • (5/5)
    Continuing on a quest to read all some of the classics I missed out on in my younger years, I recently finished the book that has been called, by people more learned than myself, the greatest novel ever written. I can’t say they’re wrong. I had the advantage of reading the newest translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky and the smoothness of the narrative, I believe, added to the great enjoyment obtained from the reading.As well known as this book is, I wasn’t really aware of the story line but I won’t bore you by going into too much detail other than saying it was part love story, part family story, part adulterous affair and an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end. Multiple storylines told by a core group of characters, pretty much all related in one way or another. This all worked well to form what I found to be a riveting narrative. And it all worked to make the book’s opening sentence, ”All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” serve as the opening salvo for everything that happens in the story. In addition, Tolstoy offers up through the narrative, the idea that we are all the victims of our choices.Eight hundred pages is a lot of book for an author to maintain a high level of interest and my attention did flag when Tolstoy went on and on about religion and philosophy but he did it through the novel’s most charismatic and compassionate character, Levin, an autobiographical character, with whom I was alternately in love with and pounding him vicariously on the chest in frustration. It was also through Levin’s eyes that Tolstoy wrote his most beautiful passages about farming and hunting and the muzhiks in Russia.Tolstoy claimed to have created a sympathetic character in Anna, who committed a crime that people today would find laughable (adultery) but at that time in Russia, a woman in an adulterous affair gave up any rights to her children and the option to remarry. Divorce was only possible if the husband wanted it. But I had a hard time sympathizing with a woman who abandoned one child and decided she didn’t care much for the child she had with her lover. Even at the end, when she was obviously losing her mind, I had a hard time ramping up any compassion for what was to me an unlikable character. In spite of the fact that the main protagonist was unlikable, I absolutely loved the book and highly recommend it.
  • (5/5)
    There's nothing original I could add to the volumes of scholarly study devoted to one of Tolstoy's famous literary masterpieces. I will, however, say the multiple forms of the various names, especially the royal males, was tedious and made the book a somewhat laborious read for this English speaking reader. The story was so beautiful it was certainly worth slogging through the continuously shifting, alphabet-swallowing names designated to each character, but it wasn't easy, even for a passionate reader. I would recommend this book to just about anyone except a new student/inexperienced reader I was hoping to hook on the classics.
  • (2/5)
    Alright, I may get thrown lettuce and tomatoes for this comment but I did not like this book. Like I said for my previous book, it’s just not my cup of tea. This seems to be a trend for me. Most of the literary classics I read I don’t like all that much. I can’t say why exactly. I must not like life stories all that much. I’m much more into adventure and action I guess. I’m a fantasy fan foremost. And unfortunately I don’t think that will ever change. I do however want to broaden my horizons, which is why I joined the group read in the first place. If I hadn’t be part of the group read and felt a sort of obligation I might not have finished this book. As it was I spent many hours cross-stitching and listening to this book and hoping it would end soon. There is a great deal of patience needed to listen to or read this book. There is tons of detail here. I mean a lot. It’s over a thousand pages. I guess I didn’t mind the plot and the inherent warnings/lessons/however you want to take it, but the amount of time it took to get the story out was very long. It certainly gave me time to get to like the characters. The only problem was, I didn’t much like any of them. Maybe I just couldn’t individually relate to them. I’m young and I grew up in the twenty-first century. My world is very different from the time and setting in this book. I also like strong female protagonists. And for me, Anna was not an independent or very strong woman. I did not understand why she let love and lack of love control her so much. Again this could just be because I’m young but I don’t relate all that well with protagonists who let things like love control their actions. I’ll admit that I don’t know what choices women did have in those days, but I still wished for something different. Anyways, all of this combined made for a book that I couldn’t get into. I’m not sure I could have got through it so quickly if I hadn’t been alternating it with another audio book. But I’m sure that other readers very well may love the book. I on the other hand am glad I finally finished it.
  • (4/5)
    Can be a bit daunting of a read since there are so many intertwined characters the story bounces back and forth between. However, truly a classic romantic, historical fiction novel.
  • (3/5)
    Wonderful literature, gives the feel of old Russian days. The novel sometimes gets over stretched but the author is not to be blamed, coz during the older era people preferred weighty tomes over short novels. More than Anna, I liked the character of Lavin. Anna Karenina is believed to be Leo Tolstoy's autobiographical kind of work for many details of Levin resembles the life of Tolstoy himself.
    All in all, a must read for classic lovers.
  • (3/5)
    This is a review of the BBC audio dramatisation.I was very much looking forward to listening to this dramatisation of Tolstoy’s famous and powerful love story. Having read the book many years ago (when I was young and romantic!) and been very emotionally affected by it, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my 16 year old daughter.I have to acknowledge that it must be a fearsome challenge to attempt to reduce an 800 page novel into a 3 CD dramatisation. And I have tons of respect for the scriptwriters, producers and actors who contributed to this undertaking. Disappointingly, however, this dramatisation doesn’t manage to put across the passion and power of Tolstoy’s love story. There just isn’t time, I suppose, to develop the main characters sufficiently so that we can understand how their actions are driven by their characters.Anna, in particular, is poorly scripted and over-acted – coming across as spoilt, immature, self-obsessed, and increasingly hysterical towards the end (whereas I wanted to be shown how she was driven to desperate action through her mounting despair). Karenin is portrayed as a pompous “stuffed shirt”, civil servant. And Vronsky is so shallowly drawn that we don’t get much insight into his motivations or his real feelings for Anna until the very end.Having said that, this is a beautifully executed dramatisation (as you would expect from the BBC) and has provided entertaining in-car listening for the family. Hence 3*s.
  • (4/5)
    SPOILERS APLENTY Don't read this if you're worried about spoilers. It's not really a review, but some thoughts that came up from reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.Maybe because I'm cold and heartless, I found Anna's high-pitched emotionality grating. Once she got on the Vronsky train, she gradually (or not so gradually) transformed from an elegant, composed, thoughtful woman into a caterwaul. Obviously, a major reason for this was the tension caused by her complete obsession with Vronsky - he was her only hope, as she says more than once - and the disapproval of society wherever they went. (An idyll in Italy is the exception, but they find it unsatisfying). By the end, Anna's obsessive jealousy and desperate need for more of his love has her destroying their relationship. Vronsky isn't exactly admirable, so dumping him would have been fine, but of course the only solution she finds is to commit suicide by throwing herself under a train.Levin (someone said he's an autobiographical character for Tolstoy) and Kitty, with their measured, thoughtful and largely graceful love, were a huge relief throughout for me from the Anna-Vronsky high-pitched passion. Tolstoy of course works that contrast in dramatic ways through much of the book. Levin and Kitty for some reason made me think of Louisa May Alcott's books. The plane they operated on was beautiful to read about. Also, Jane Austen came to mind, as Kitty first foolishly turns down Levin's proposal due to an infatuation with Vronsky, and learns to regret it before she and Levin finally are reunited.What kept running through my mind was, what would Anna be like today in this situation? Would pharmaceuticals help alleviate her anxiety, and enable her to deal more rationally with her life? Soften that irrepressible hatred for Karenin, allow her to visit more reasonably with her son, help her avoid her irrational desperation toward Vronsky and find a way to happiness? What about easy, no-fault divorce? Instead of the sturm and drang with Karenin, just go your separate ways, marry that putz Vronsky, and carry on. How about a more progressive society, with much less of the shunning?I know, she's the title character, very important, look at all we'd lose. But would we? If a more sensible Anna made more sensible choices in a more sensible world, would we still care about her? I'd be willing to find out, if only to get some relief from her clanging emotions, particularly toward the end. (I'm fine with emotional characters generally, but the increasingly falling apart Anna I'd had enough of). And maybe a more sensible Anna would mean we could get more of Levin and Kitty's story, which would be fine with me. (I could do with a whole lot less of Levin's religious and philosophical questioning, by the way, but we'll leave that for another day). We might end up with Alcott-like or Austen-like characters sorting it out. If we wanted to keep a similar dynamic, Anna could be a Lydia-equivalent I suppose, with Vronsky as Wickham.All right, enough carping. The Maude translation was smooth and engaging. There were beautiful stretches in the book, like Levin mowing with the peasants, and the birth of Levin and Kitty's son, with Levin desperately frightened that Kitty might not survive. The latter was well-contrasted with Anna wishing she had died in childbirth, as that would have "solved everything." I was also struck at the end by Vronsky's trying to remember Anna as she was at the beginning of their relationship, rather than the "cruelly vindictive" (from his POV) Anna at the end.I'm glad I read Anna Karenina, but you can tell it will never be up there as a favorite for me.
  • (4/5)
    I will not attempt to summarize this work of literature. The plot is well-known and other reviewers have done an excellent job doing so. Themes of the book are adultery, including the church's attitude toward it. the political changes occurring in Russia at the time, and attitudes toward religion. Anna was not that likeable of a character. She abandoned her child. She would ask for something to happen and then refuse it when the opportunity presented itself. I enjoyed many of the descriptions, particularly those set on the farm. Tolstoy did a great job in developing characters. The book still has relevance for today's readers and is why it is still considered to be one of literature's all-time classics.
  • (5/5)
    What I love about this novel is, although it was published over a hundred years before I was born, takes place in a country different from my own and is written (though translated) in a different language, I can relate to the characters so closely as they struggle with insecurity similar to my own. Though the logistics are not quite the same, Tolstoy gets to the heart of issues and in doing so makes his characters and their problems timeless. He has a knack for describing perfectly the way they think and feel. In each character you can see how God's presence or absence in their life affects the way they relate to others.This novel made me extremely grateful for friendship. There are two characters whose interactions with each other are seen but twice in the novel, but have left an impression on me. One says to the other "I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, and not as you like them to be". I am fortunate to have a few friends in my life to whom I feel I can share anything and they will not love me any differently.
  • (4/5)
    Really well written. I wish authors today would create books this epic - I think Tolstoy really shows a lot of things that modern authors would be content to tell, in a major way.
  • (4/5)
    This book has two stories. Those of Anna and Lenin. Anna is searching for meaning in life through love. Lenin is searching for meaning through love and work. Both suffer in their quest as they grapple with the demands of social norms and their own intellectual and emotional inner conflicts. The moral of the story seems to be that earthly love is not enough to soothe the human soul, but a connection with a greater good is required to find true value in life. This is an elephant-length book that is broken into easy bite-sized pieces.