Friday, October 21, 2011

Anna Karenina: Week Two

I picked up this book several years ago while browsing in a bookstore. I was attracted to the beautiful cover as well as the challenge of tackling such a chunkster! I began reading the book but did not even make it to the middle. I guess you could say life got in the way. Two summers ago, I picked up this book again. While reading at my in-laws cabin, a visitor publicly scolded me for reading such a book. I was so embarrassed! I have never had anyone tell me I should not read a book, especially someone who is only an acquaintance. This reader was disappointed in the actions of the title character  which led her to despise the book. To say the least, that incident, once again, caused me to put the book back on my bookshelf. Luckily, this read-a-long awakened my desire to actually read this book from beginning to end. Third time is a charm, right?! Having the support of fellow bloggers is really encouraging and a perfect "excuse" to give this novel another try!

I am really enjoying the story this time around. Tolstoy has revealed some universal "truths" about society thus far; although, there is a side in many of us who would probably like to deny these truths. For instance, in Part II, Chapter VI the narrator tells us, "The conversation had begin nicely, but precisely because it was much too nice, it stopped again. They had to resort to that sure, never failing remedy -- malicious gossip" (134). And of course they guests begin discussing the relationship that appears to be budding between Anna and Vronsky. Doesn't gossip seem to get the best of us sometimes?

At this point, I can't decide if I like Anna. At times I think she is arrogant, but then I wonder if she is just being honest. She states that Kitty is jealous of her. . .could Anna have done anything to discourage this attention from Vronsky? Or, is Anna a victim? I am looking forward to reading more about her family situation.

And now, Levin. How could one not like him? I feel sorry for him and don't at the same time. I feel sorry for him because of the pain of rejection he endured from Kitty. However, I think he is in a better situation than many characters we've met so far. If I was to be any character, I would want to be Levin.

Looking forward to reading other bloggers' posts!


  1. I love Levin, too. He is probably one of the more likable characters.

    I think I like Anna. I think that she has moments of arrogance, but at the same time, I think every character has had those moments. Though I do think she could have done something to deter Vronsky. But, we will see how it all plays out! :]

  2. I cannot believe that you were publicly scolded for reading Anna Karenina! The nerve!

    I know what you mean about complicated feelings about Anna. I feel like a parent almost--like I can see her potential, and some of her decisions are just so disappointing. She said that before Moscow (& Vronsky) she had preferred the circle of friends that was more down to earth and considerate, but afterwards she preferred the showy, gossipy, silliness of the other crowd. Hrm. That didn't make me very happy!

  3. I cannot believe you were publicly scolded for reading Anna Karenina. I had a teacher in high school yell at me for reading a romance novel but AK normally garnishes a little more respectability.

    I'm still on the fence about Anna as well, but I do so adore Levin.