Sunday, 18 July 2010

Writing About Reading: Anna Karenin-on, and on, and on...

It took me ages.

However, I'm proud to announce I did manage to finish the epic conversation piece that is Anna Karenin.

(Oh, and here's a blog post that contains spoilers, just in case...)

It's quite a miracle that I did make it all the way to the end. Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant book. A gripping story. The writing style, modern, naturalistic, stream-of-consciousness stuff is amazing. And all the heavy themes in it are also engaging, of course.

But once Anna's gone, and all the complications with the soldiers and all the rest kicks off, I must admit I kinda lost interest. The final few chapters, with all Levin's philosophising, were pretty hard work.

But finish it I did. And there's a great sense of achievement in finishing your first piece of proper Russian literature, even if you are now in your 30s.

And what will I take away with me from this fantastic novel?
  • The wonderful descriptions of Anna's fingers, with all the references to her rings
  • Tolstoy's remarkable ability to write women
  • Levin and Kitty finally getting together over that wordgame at a party, which reduced me to tears on a train
  • The now-interesting passages about the atheist Levin's feelings during his religious marriage ceremony
  • And finally, the fact that I will never, ever, no matter how long I live, storm out of an argument and hail a sled. Ever. Which seems a shame.

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