Review: Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
I really enjoyed this book. It's huge and made my arms hurt when I was holding it but it is also beautiful and has a very rich narrative.
Although I don't feel very compelled my Anna's story and it has been accused by people in my generation of not really being that scandalous (even though it these events would still be scandalous in our time never mind Russian in the late nineteenth century). There are several dramatic shifts in her character throughout the novel; happy wife, infatuated, dying, happy lover/mother, jealous lover, dead. In each, a new part of her character is realised, for better or for worse. Overall I didn't like her that much as a person but I also felt bad for her. She was always so lonely, making her behaviour more understandable, yet nonetheless condemnable.
The character that I really loved was Levin. I think that he's the real hero of the story. He shows what idealised love is like and the power of hard work. He is the measure of all the other characters. That is not to say that he does not have his faults; he has a very weak faith which causes problems for him and he can be very obsessive along with his urge to break social mores.
I rate this book an 9 out of 10. The world building is great. It may be better to read it was it was published, as a serial, as it is huge and takes buckets of time to get through but it's definitely worth it.