Anna Karenina

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Penguin Books Limited, Dec 31, 2002 - Fiction - 837 pages
Now the subject of a major new film adaptation from director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice), Leo Tolstoy'sAnna Karenina is translated by award-winning duo Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky in Penguin Classics.
Starring Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method) as Anna Karenina, Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) as her husband Alexei, Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy) as Count Vronsky, and also starring Matthew McFadyen, Andrea Riseborough and Kelly Macdonald, this dazzling production of Anna Karenina is adapted for the screen by legendary playwright Tom Stoppard.
Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike, and soon brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Konstantin Levin, a man striving to find contentment and meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself.
Acclaimed as the definitive English version of Tolstoy's masterpiece, this edition contains an introduction by Richard Pevear and a preface by John Bayley.

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Anna Karenina is the novel which has a few parallel plot lines. Just one of them is the love between Anna, a married high-society woman, and Alexey Vronskiy, a handsome military officer. Since this plot line is the most passionate, personal, and has tragic end, Tolstoy named his novel with the name of this tragic character.
The novel is a broad panorama of Russian society and life in Russia of the end of the XIX century (19th). (Russians usually mark the number of the century with a Roman digit.)
Leo Tolstoy (in Russian Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, since we have a few writers with the last name Tolstoy) is the most prolific master of psychological novel.
When you read Tolstoy, you are involved in the special experience of the literary master, genius, who puts his words and phrases with the generous brush on the canvas of a page, and as a result we have the beautiful detailed color picture of the events. When you read Tolstoy you feel you are watching a movie. It is a very special experience to read Tolstoy. Do not hurry. Read him slowly. You'll be surprised how many things about yourself and your outlook you will discover reading Tolstoy. All Tolstoy is highly recommended. I do not remember anything he wrote being worse than "Anna Karenina". I read the novel in my twenties, and then reread in my 40-ties, and made a few wonderful discoveries about the change of my own thinking. People who find such a novel boring (I read such reviews) obviously find thinking boring. The novel and Tolstoy generally - make you think. Is it entertaining reading? Well, yes! If you think for entertaining! Tolstoy has a great sense of humor too. He was a count, belonged to high society. He knew what he described from his own life and experiences.
Does a reader of the translation misses on certain things compared with reading in Russian language? He or she certainly does! And it's a pity. That's why we have dual language versions with explaining notes. However, not to read it at all - is to miss on the great world classic.
 

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Anna Karenina is a love story between the woman Anna Karenina and a young general. All though, the story is not as simple as it sounds for it has several more characters like a woman called Kitty and a man called Levin, mr Karenina. The young general's two brothers and friends. Anna Karenina's sister and her family, and so on. It is a very political book. I'm a fast reader, but it took me a month to finish, because I had to take many breaks and do something else. Not that it wasn't interesting, but it was complicated.
I thoroughly recommend it.
 

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About the author (2002)

Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 in the Tula province. He studied at the University of Kazan, then led a life of pleasure until 1851 when he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus. He established his reputation as a writer with The Sebastopol Sketches (1855-6). After a period in St Petersburg and abroad, he married, had thirteen children, managed his vast estates in the Volga Steppes and wrote War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). A Confession (1879-82) marked a spiritual crisis in his life, and in 1901 he was excommuincated by the Russian Holy Synod. He died in 1910, in the course of a dramatic flight from home, at the railway station of Astapovo.

Richard Pevear, along with his wife Larissa Volokhonsky, has translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Bulgakov and Pasternak. They both were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina). They are married and live in France.

Larissa Volokhonsky, along with her husband Richard Pevear, has translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Bulgakov and Pasternak. They both were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina). They are married and live in France.

Richard Pevear, along with his wife Larissa Volokhonsky, has translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Bulgakov and Pasternak. They both were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina). They are married and live in France.

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