Item description for Anna Karenina (Classic Fiction) by Leo Tolstoy & Laura Paton...
Translated by Constance Garnett, Introduction by Leonard J. Kent and Nina Berberova
Outline Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world's greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy's best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn't take well to that sort of thing.
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Format: Abridged, Audiobook
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 5" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Publisher Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN 9626340819 ISBN13 9789626340813
Availability 0 units.
More About Leo Tolstoy & Laura Paton
One of the greatest Russian writers of the 19th century, Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels The Cossacks, Resurrection, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are considered to be among the best examples of realistic fiction ever written, as well as non-fiction including A Confession and What Is Art?. In addition to his writing, Tolstoy was known as a moral thinker and social reformer who embraced ascetic views in his personal life, and his writings on non-violent resistance, particularly The Kingdom of God Is Within You, influenced such notable activists as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Tolstoy died of pneumonia in 1910, leaving behind a rich literary legacy that has been translated around the world and adapted for many international films.
Reviews - What do customers think about Anna Karenina (Classic Fiction)?
Anna's tale Jan 2, 2008
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." That line opens and sets the tone of "Anna Karenina," a tangled and tragic tale of nineteenth century Russia. Tolstoy's story of lovers and family is interlaced with razor-sharp social commentary and odd moments that are almost transcendent. In other words, this is a masterpiece.
When Stepan Oblonsky has an affair with the governess, his wife says that she's leaving him, and now the family is about to disintegrate. Stepan's sister Anna arrives to smooth over their marital problems, and consoles his wife Dolly until she agrees to stay. But on the train there, she met the outspoken Countess Vronsky, and the countess's dashing son, who is semi-engaged to Dolly's sister Kitty.
Anna and Vronsky start to fall in love -- despite the fact that Anna has been married for ten years, to a wealthy husband she doesn't care about, and has a young son. Even so, Anna rejects her loveless marriage and becomes the center of scandal and public hypocrisy, and even becomes pregnany by Vronsky. As she prepares to jump ship and get a divorce, Anna becomes a victim of her own passions...
That isn't the entire story, actually -- Tolstoy weaves in other plots, about disintegrating families, new marriages, and the melancholy Levin's constant search for God, truth, and goodness. Despite the grim storyline about adultery, and the social commentary, there's an almost transcendent quality to some of Tolstoy's writing. It's the most optimistic tragic book I've ever read.
For some reason, Tolstoy called this his "first novel," even though he had already written some before that. Perhaps it's because "Anna Karenina" tackles so many questions and themes, and does so without ever dropping the ball. No wonder it's so long and imposing -- Tolstoy covered a lot of ground in here.
And while "Anna Karenina" was not the first book he wrote, it is probably the deepest and most moving. Tolstoy steeps the book in social commentary, and his personal philosophies. It's also one of those books that takes a very long time to move itself forward -- Tolstoy's writing is slow and ponderous, with a lot of serious discussion about religion and relationships. But his intense, slightly rough writing is worth it.
In some tragic books, you get the feeling that the author really despises his characters, and doesn't really care what happens to them. Tolstoy never gives you that feeling -- no matter how annoying his characters are, they always have something interesting or endearing. No caricatures at all -- even Anna's irritating, arrogant brother is given some quirks to make him seem real.
Oddly enough, the most moving character here is not Anna, but Konstantin Levin -- the tortured, passionate landowner is so earnest that it's difficult not to care about him. Apparently he was Tolstoy's alter ego, which explains his depth. But Anna and Vronsky are strong leads, a passionate pair who are both selfish and seductive, but never boring.
A beautiful look at living right vs. living wrong, "Anna Karenina" is a truly magnificent book. This book is undoubtedly Tolstoy's opus, and a stunning look at human nature.
Wrong Translation Nov 12, 2007
Please be aware that this hardback is the MAUDE translation, not the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. The link from the paperback that says the hardcover is still available re-directs you to this page. The Pevear/Volokhonsky translation in hardback appears to be unavailable.
Please enter a title for your review Sep 23, 2007
Half the content is elaborate banal detail used to establish context, but in it's more consequential moments this novel is the final word on the disingenuous nature of institutionalized aspects of social behaviour. It's a theme I've pondered and seen touched on in a few other books, but I was blown away by how comprehensively Tolstoy articulates and extrapolates my own thoughts. This novel is primarily a work of philosophy, using the characters to illustrate social observations at the expense of a fully cohesive narrative. It's difficult to understand how fans of classic fiction, who generally consider "reading" a neccessity for respectable people, don't take offense to this book as it seems to be constantly critcizing that kind of cultural pretense. Another interesting thing I got from the book is how culture 100+ years ago doesn't seem as formal and conservative as I had previously been led to believe. Parents were already complaining about tradition falling out of favor among the younger generation and governmental red-tape was already something criticized as getting in the way of practical goals. On the other hand the doctors of the era are presented as having no medical knowledge whatsoever. my fave quote: "The word talent, which they understood to mean an innate and almost physical capacity, independent of mind and heart, and which was their term for everything an artist lives through, occurred very often in their conversation, since they required it as a name for something which they did not at all understand, but about which they wanted to talk."
Best book I ever read Aug 14, 2007
My favorite book from Russian author Count Leo Tolstoy. The passion, the datails, everything about this book is powerful. I read it in College and I just re-read it last summer. I will read it again.
Passionate pastoral Aug 2, 2007
It was interesting to read this--arguably the greatest of all novels--just after CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and several years after WAR AND PEACE. By comparison, this novel is gentle and lucid, written with the eye of comedy despite the tragic ending of its heroine, and intimate in scale despite its immense themes. Among these are the first stirrings of communism, the differences between social norms and true morality, and the search for religious belief, echoing the course of Tolstoy's own conversion. Although it is heresy to say so, I found Levin, the author's alter ego, the pastoral world he inhabits, and his love for Kitty to be ultimately more moving (to the point of bringing tears to the eyes) than the passion of Anna and Vronsky. I think this is because their subplot really begins to develop at precisely the point where the adulterous affair of the title character begins to lose its forward drive. But in both sides of the story, Tolstoy's eye for detail is unmatched; his set-pieces like the ball, the horse race, the bird hunt, and the election are uniformly superb; and with his vivid characters for company, his book flies by.
I read this in the Modern Library hardback edition, whose translation by Constance Garnett, reworked by Leonard Kent and Nina Berberova, flows a lot more smoothly than the unretouched Garnett of the Barnes and Noble CRIME AND PUNIHSMENT.