Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy was originally written in Russian and published in installments. Various English translations are available. I did quite a research to find out the best one available for this long (1000 pages almost!) book and finally settled for the Louise and Alymer Maude translation. People say all the translations are more or less same and equally good!
Anna Karenina is a much cherished literary piece of work. It is an elegiac story of Anna Karenina, married to Alexie Karenin, twenty years older than her. She is young, beautiful and unhappy in her marriage. She recklessly falls in love with Vronsky and their love isolates them from society. In Russian backdrop of 1870’s , Anna dares to live with her lover without divorcing her husband. Being a woman, she cannot have a normal social life in her circumstances while Vronsky enjoys the same. Her isolation, feeling of insecurity, fear of infidelity and some sense of guilt make her life miserable which she passes on to Vronsky as well. Eventually, she kills herself! A tragic love story which has an even more tragic climax
This is not the first time that reading such over-famous books has been a very daunting task for me. There is always a pressure of loving it! Tolstoy has made it very lengthy by wandering to so many details and descriptions about a wide variety of things like politics, social reforms etc. And those long long Russian names! It could have been much more interesting and gripping book if not for its length.
I had to read it to strike-off one from my to-read list and I don’t regret reading it. But, I can’t say I loved it or even liked it like others! I would still give it credits for some very beautiful lines/phrases. After Pride and Prejudice, this is the only one which has an awesome opening-line!! (first one in quotes below section)
As Always, some lines from book which I liked:
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”
“Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed. ”
“I always loved you, and if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be.”
“There are as many kinds of love, as there are hearts”
“I don’t allow myself to doubt myself even for a moment.”
“The pleasure lies not in discovering truth, but in searching for it.”
“But that’s the whole aim of civilization: to make everything a source of enjoyment.”
“There was no solution, save that universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insolvable: One must live in the needs of the day–that is, forget oneself.”
“What is to be done? There was no solution, but the universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insoluble. The answer is: one must live in the needs of the day — that is, forget oneself.”