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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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Anna Karenina was one of many reads on my way to finally embracing the classics I've so long desired to know. I found Tolstoy's writing style interesting and comprehensible. Anna, the subject of the tale, is at first pitiable, buts she progressively descends into self-pity, all due to her own actions. I found the character Levin the most interesting and the most deserving of a successful end. Some believe Tolstoy sometimes rambling and overly descriptive. In part I agree. At times, Tolstoy does seem to ramble and over-complicate the telling of the story. However, there are points at which the apparent rambling is actually integral. Levin is a good man whose aim, though often fettered by his own mulishness, is a deeper understanding of himself and of his role in the world. In my opinion Tolstoy rightly expounds on Levin's reasoning, and the detail of Levin's reasoning lends a poignant and honest feel to the growth of the character. The ending may seem disjointed to some, but not within the context of the entire story. Levin finds the peace and contentment that the struggling characters in the story fail to discover. Tolstoy seems to tell us that each of us have the answer to our existence within ourselves, yet many of us must reach bottom and behold despair; only then can we embrace hope and the truth of our purpose here, only then, through faith, can we finally and clearly see the essence of God. I believe the book a valuable read. It is a rare look into 19th Century Russian life, faith and philosophy. Truth then is truth today. 

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