Reviews

Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

hhollins's review against another edition

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5.0

Tolstoy was a humanist-- this is incredibly clear in this work.

neladon's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

kezee's review against another edition

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5.0

For me this novel started out very plot driven - I felt like I read the first half just to see what would happen next. Then, for 100 pages or so, I was kind of bored. I can say that, right? Even though I gave it 5 stars? Anyway, the last bit was so great. I realized I don't really like using the word "timeless" but it's entirely applicable to this novel. Anna's psychological demise is comparable to a high school drama and Levin's search for faith and meaning in the world is so well-described I feel like every story I've ever read is based on it. The back of my copy of this book says "...the world's greatest novel..." huh.

"Deliberation led to doubts and prevented him from seeing what he ought and ought not to do. But when he did not think, but just lived, he never ceased to be aware of the presence in his soul of an infallible judge who decided which of two possible courses of action was the better and which the worse, and instantly let him know if he did what he should not."

Totally.

icedragoon's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

Love and relationships story resembling a lot of fiction novels of the time (probably a reason why I was not really marked by the book: after having read many classics the story does not seem so original. It felt a bit long at times.
I also made researched the author and the book beforehand and maybe I shouldn't have as I knew how it ended before I read it.
The author's developments about society, psychology and relationships were the most interesting parts to me. Some ideas seem quite modern. The character's emotions are very well described and you get to remember times you felt like them.
I had a bit of a hard time getting attached to the characters though so I was not very implicated in what happened to them.

mollyringle's review against another edition

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3.0

3 stars as an average, I guess, because I give 4 stars for the first third (or so) when things were intellectual and romantic and interesting. Then I give 2 stars by the end when, well, Anna and Vronsky are still interesting, but depressing as all hell, and Lenin and Kitty are less depressing but dear lord Tolstoy do we really need pages and pages of Lenin pondering philosophy and 19th-century-Russian government and mowing tall grass?

I read with interest every word of Anna's courtship with Vronsky and eventually her fateful drive to the train station, but kind of wish I hadn't since it's all chilling and she was clearly a depression sufferer and no one recognized it or tried to help; in fact, their society kind of seemed to breed depression freely and then had no idea how to treat it. Thus, interesting, but dreary. As for Lenin, who is likable enough as a person, I couldn't face his long flights of thoughts on subjects I wasn't very interested in, and I admit I was skimming those like hell by the end.

I hoped this would turn out to be a Big Thick Classic I Loved Forever And Ever, a la Les Mis, but alas, it was not to be. Nonetheless, I'm sure some of it will stick with me a long time, for better or worse.

rdoose's review against another edition

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2.0

2.5 stars

Probably not worth the effort, honestly. So much of this was not about the characters -- huge portions of it were about government, agriculture, or just hunting scenes. Some of the parts that focused on the characters were very good, but for me personally it didn't offer anything that so affected me that it made me forget the parts that bogged it down. On one level I appreciate the acknowledgment of people of both genders having extremely strong emotions, but it was just frustrating at times how heightened everything was and how miserable everyone made themselves (and each other). This is still on all the lists of books you "must" read, but I think the movie or Sparknotes would suffice in this case.

grllopez's review against another edition

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5.0

An epic!!!!
My review: https://www.greatbookstudy.com/search/label/Anna%20Karenina

klord3's review against another edition

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5.0

Not at all what I was expecting. This book has no plot, it is like Seinfeld. However, I have never read more lovingly and painstakingly portrayed characters. Basically, the book is a first person perspective from seven main characters on topics ranging from farming, birth control to the meaning of life. Many of the topics discussed are surprisingly modern and poignant today. Some not so much, I got a bit distracted when farming came up yet again. I felt like I didn't know enough about Russian history to get all of the allusions, but even without this knowledge, it was truly an amazing work of fiction. A unique combination of epic and intimate. I also don't think I would have made it through the text version of the book, but it was a perfect audiobook.

sky_13's review against another edition

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3.0

she gave up

victurris's review against another edition

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5