Tolstoy is one of the names that immediately pop into one’s mind upon hearing the word literature and Anna Karenina is certainly one of the most well-known books in world literature. Therefore, it’s a strange feeling to read this masterpiece, knowing all the legend behind it and one can have a hard time being objective. However, I think that, all predispositions aside, Anna Karenina is worthy of all the praise one can give it.
The way this novel is written, it resembles a whole universe which consists of many smaller ones, all interacting with one another in a number of ways. I don’t see the point of going into what I liked about Tolstoy’s masterpiece in depth. Suffice it to say that the way he handles his characters (and they are quite a lot) is impressive, to say the least, while each of them could be the topic of endless conversations. In fact, if I ever had a chance of meeting Tolstoy, I would die to ask him which of them was his favorite. The story revolves around not only Anna Karenina and her illegitimate affair, but also many other characters and their struggle to rise to the expectations of life in Russian high society in the 19th century. Many subjects are touched, all of which are timeless, with human relations being in focus at almost all times. As a matter of fact, aside from a few parts, the rest of the novel reads like it was written last year. Especially the way Tolstoy depicts the slow descent into depression is frighteningly realistic. The image of Anna succumbing to her insecurities and sacrificing the harmony of her hard-earned relationship with Count Vronsky by projecting on him all that is wrong with her while, as a result, hating all that she formerly loved in him is so familiar, it gave me chills. Anna encloses all that can go wrong in a relationship when one has troubles with oneself. The perfect depiction of the transformation of what seemed to be the most romantic love into hatred and repulsion.
Now, you can simply ignore all the above and do yourselves a favor and read this masterpiece which influenced millions of artists and readers throughout history. If that alone isn’t enough to inspire awe to the modern reader, I honestly don’t know what will.