Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general.
Anna Karenina is a book about life. All of life, the mundane and the dramatic. Tolstoy is the master of writing about humanity – individual human experience and the broader workings of society. In it, Tolstoy foresees the rumblings of communism and subsequent revolution.
His characters are complex and real. We get to know them intimately – their passions, foibles, thoughts and feelings as they go about their daily lives. In many ways, Anna is not the main character. Levin is probably my favourite with his philosophical search for meaning, in what it really means to live a good life.
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
“Just as the bees, whirling round him, now menacing him and distracting his attention, prevented him from enjoying complete physical peace, forced him to restrain his movements to avoid them, so had the petty cares that had swarmed about him from the moment he got into the trap restricted his spiritual freedom; but that lasted only so long as he was among them. Just as his bodily strength was still unaffected in spite of the bees, so too was the spiritual strength that he had just become aware of.”