Friday, July 10, 2009

working on Anna Karenina

Thought I'd post in case anyone else is, or has, or will.

It's SO long, but I've been surprised that basically it's smooth(ish) reading.

I know a couple other people have already finished this one, right? Any comments/hopes/desperations?

I did read a modern retelling, What Happened to Anna K., a few months ago. It was a good (short!!) read, and has made reading the original really, really interesting (although maybe I would do it in the reverse order if I could revisit).


Bree said...

I tried reading What Happened to Anna K but just could not get into it. I had even requested book directly from author. My son had to read Anna Karenina for his AP English class, while he did not care for it, I do want to read it. How far are you into it? If you are not too far, do you want to do a discussion/book club type thing???

moonrat said...

sure!! i've just finished book 3, but i've been trying to get through it quickly, and haven't really been talking about it with anyone. are you cool to start now? i'll slow myself down!

(what happened to anna k was hard to get into--ultimately for me it was a book that meant more AFTER i was done with it. but i'm really glad now that i read it.)

Jen C said...

Sigh. I had to give up on Anna Karenina. I did want to finish it but I just found it so utterly dull that the thought of picking it up again makes me want to stab out my own eyeballs with a rusty fork. I realised I just had to accept that it's not for me and move on!

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

This post may have grown cold, but perhaps you'll see this before you write another one about finishing Anna K. Let me just say, Moonie, that I spent a long time reading A.K. -- 5 months, I think. And I kept thinking it wasn't quite worth all that wading. Flashes of innovative realism, of course, and a great burst of energy at the end (the train scene) but I wasn't as wowed by the characters (especially Anna herself) as the rest of western civilizations seems to be. But the funny thing is, I do keep thinking about it, and I'm glad to have read it. And here's the kicker: this week I just read "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" -- Tolstoy lite! Only about 100 pages! And I loved it. Much more focused, great voice and details and character study. Quite heart-breaking, actually. I realize now that one of my problems with Anna K was both its bagginess and its moralizing -- I could feel the author working out his ideas about peasantry and politics and sex on the page. Whereas "Death of Ivan..." seems like a more organic story, a true outgrowth of Tolstoy's own barely processed terror of death. A more true book, for me.

Have I ever mentioned Jay Parini's "The Last Station"? It's a historical novel about the end of Tolstoy's life that explains so much about his marriage, philosophies (which at the end, were rather anti-sex and anti-everything), and more. I liked Last Station when I read it. I enjoy it even more in retrospect, as I add more Tolstoy readings on top of it.