Anna Karenina was a much awaited read for me. Ever since I started reading classics, I wanted to get my hands on this one, but the only thing I was afraid of was the no. of pages and those small prints. But when I finally started reading there was no looking back, I enjoyed every moment spent with this book and never thought it would this interesting. Now that I have finished it I am so glad to have read it.
I don’t have words to express the way, Tolstoy has knitted this masterpiece by creating such real characters and storyline wherein he never fails to take his readers to that part of the world. But I really have to say that the title ‘Anna Karenina’ is quite misleading here, since this book not only focuses on Anna Karenina but it also revolves around the life of Konstantin Dmitrich Levin and his perplexities.
And I must admit I cherished reading Levin’s’ story much more than Anna’s!
I was unable to like or pity Anna Karenina in the first place. I never could understand her point of view not even once thorough out the book. Not that I did not make any effort to understand her. I did, but I failed and after a while I gave up and never really cared for her. All she wanted was her happiness. Being a mother she did not even think of her son once, before abandoning him. For her, her happiness and her life was more important than her sons’. All the struggle she went through from the beginning till the end was because of her foolishness. Whatever ending she choose for herself was because of her wrong doings, no one is to be blamed for that neither her husband Karenin nor her lover Vronsky in fact she was successful in ruining both their lives. Although to the outer world she depicted herself as charming strongest women but inside she was pathetic . All I can say is she is the most self-centered, stupid, and weakest character I have ever read. Not that I am blaming Tolstoy for creating such a character. But she WAS unrealistic at times.
Contrary to that the best part of the book for me was Levin. His part of the story moves parallel with Annas’. Though in the beginning he is shown as a side character but as the story progressed I found his part more engrossing. Tolstoy’s portrayal of Levin’s social awkwardness, his one sided love for Kitty, his possessiveness or be it his concern about farming , peasantry, the confusion he faces believing in God and religion and his perplexity towards his life and his own thoughts, I found it all more and more intriguing and very realistic. If I ever re-read this book again it would be only for him. Apart from the story there were lots of discussions and description on Russian culture, religious practice, farming and politics of that era which again makes this book more interesting.
All I can say is am really looking forward to read more of Tolstoys’ works.