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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Review by Liara

This book is a LONG (950 pages) melodramatic soap opera, basically. It centers on the lives and loves of Anna Karenina, her lover Vronsky, her brother's wife's sister Kitty (*lol*) and Kitty's suitor Levin. And all of their friends and relatives. So of course, as in any soap opera (or 19th century novel) there are a zillion subplots. However, in this one they could have been more connected and relevant to each other.

In addition to the numerous social plots of who's in love with who and so on, there are lots of digressions. This is what bothered me the most about this book. Digressions are great if they show something about a character or add to the meaning of a theme or are just plain interesting. Well, sorry Leo, but yours just aren't any of those. He goes off about Levin's economic theories about how to most effectively use the Russian peasant labor, or into a detailed report of exactly what the noblemen did on their duck hunting trip. That was more than I cared to know and not very exciting either.

Anyway, the plot would be good if it was condensed a bit and if some of the completely superfluous details were left out. I was just annoyed when it would speed up and slow down and speed up again (eventually). Overall I guess this is a book you read if you either really love Russian lit, or want to read classics, or are really bored, or just insane like me :-). Perhaps an abridged version would have been more enjoyable. I give it two out of five amulets.


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