August 10, 2014 by Me and My Monkeys
To be frank, there are better books than Anna Karenina. Not many, but enough.
What Tolstoy does, though, is infiltrate us. Once read (over weeks or months, usually), the novel never leaves you. It becomes part of your lived experience and memory: the long-term, filed away kind.
You find yourself referencing the novel, and not only as a literary critic: “Ah, remember the time when I … I mean Levin … went out to plough the field.”
This is certainly one powerful version of art, and why bibliophiles get hooked. Tolstoy lets us live and learn through him. That’s what gives readers insight and wisdom without leaving their library or basement or banana lounge.
Searching for themes in Anna Karenina is an almost redundant exercise. They’re all there and needn’t be catalogued. For me, the novel was about disappointment: Levin when first let down by Kitty, Oblonski’s son when he doesn’t get a sweet. Karenin at losing his wife. Anna, time after time.
Tolstoy has given us – his followers – a shared consciousness. We’ve all been to the same party and will talk about it whenever we can.
Recommended? If you’re patient.
Out of 10? 8
My monkeys suggest: Other literature will make more sense once you’ve read AK and MB.