YAY! I succeeded! I completed this. It was my Moby Dick (that is, until I commit to attempt to read Moby Dick… )
My readers are most bored with my story of how many times I have tried to read this. This was my fourth attempt and I owe success to the audiobook. Rather than a review, I will just ramble some random thoughts. Also, do note, I am joining in on the Anna Karenina Readalong CONCLUDING TODAY hosted by Arti at Ripple Effects so do click here to go there and read other’s thoughts on this classic.
I was amazed how relevant most of Tolstoy’s thoughts and reactions to everyday stuff and how easily he wove these into the story as thoughts and asides of the characters.
About 80% of the way in, I wish I had made tally of how many times the word HAPPY and UNHAPPY were used. We could say this book is one big idea on ways to be happy or how to ruin said ‘happy’.
It’s a long book. But I was so grateful that Mr. Tolstoy used a short chapter structure. This made it very easy for me to track the listening to the reading and know where I was in the story, to find my place in the print.
I do know that I missed a few things. Like how exactly were Vronsky and Anna able to afford their travels? We had one chapter exclusively on where Vronsky’s money came from and how he really didn’t have any and then, I don’t recall another word about it. Yet, they were able to afford a nanny for the daughter who really got the short shift on everything, poor thing.
Now THERE is a book. Somebody should write about her. Where did she end up? Who raised her? What did she think of her life? Was she pissed off? Was she reincarnated as Esther in Bleak House?
All these crazy thousands of Jane Austen spin offs… Where are the Tolstoy spin offs? Just wonderin’.
I’m super dooper excited to see the film which looks LUSCIOUS & SUMPTUOUS; a delight to the senses. It’s DRAMA, people! I think it will be great and don’t think I will be disappointed in the least.
Levin drove me batty at times. He should have just clobbered Kitty over the head and drug her off to the farm and this would have cut the book by 2/3 at least. And then just be HAPPY and stop over thinking everything! He is the balance to Anna as he is the one to figure it all out in the end.
My absolute favoritest scenes were when we got inside the head of Levin’s hunting dog. She was brilliant. Dogs are cool.
Dolly’s husband didn’t deserve her. He had some of the best lines, though.
“There it is, my friend. It has to be one of the other: either admit that the present social arrangement is just and then defend your own rights, or admit that you enjoy certain unjust advantages, as I do, and enjoy them with pleasure.”
I had grand ideas to contrast the translations from the audio to the print but I am having a hard time retrieving the notes in my Audible.com app and then matching to the text. It was easy to match while reading but to check back now seems frustrating and elusive. I should have taken better notes.
I had little sympathy for Anna and cared little for Vronsky. I liked Kitty and her sister.
I will be loaning my print copy to my friend Holly. We were able to get together last Saturday for coffee and book chatter and she expressed interest AND hesitation. She timidly asked me what it was about and I admit that I foolishly started babbling as if it was a soap opera. I don’t think I spoiled it – can you really spoil this one? Anyway, she said, “Yes, please, I will accept if you have a copy.” YIPPEE!
This is what I babbled, sort of, I think:
“Well, Anna is married to an old guy who is pretty high up and respected in the government and she goes to visit her brother to help him patch things up with his wife cuz he’s an ass and then gets invited to a dance where Dolly’s little sister is in love with this dude Vronsky and thinks he is going to ask her to marry him but he has no idea or intention to do that and in the mean time there is this guy Levin, who happens to be Anna’s brother’s best friend even though they are not alike AT ALL, who would rather be at his farm but he’s in love with Kitty, that’s Dolly’s little sister and – wait, I told you Dolly is Anna’s sister-in-law, married to Anna’s brother who has so many names it’s ridiculous. Well at this dance, see? Anna falls head over heels in lust with Vronsky and so Kitty is upset because she had turned down Levin who had just minutes before had asked her to marry him which causes him to run away back to his farm where he is terribly lonely and by god, there is no way he could consider marrying a peasant girl, WHAT? Why that would be WRONG!! and so let’s get back to Anna; she has this affair with Vronsky, gets pregnant and no one really has that much to say on that really, just that – wow she is sleeping around behind her husband’s back and in front of him, too and yet Karenin won’t divorce her. Cuz he’s found religion.”
Which I suppose is what happens but NOT what the book is really ABOUT, right? Perhaps I should have talked about grand sweeping themes?
Thank you audiobooks! I don’t think I would have made it through this one without you.
I hear the Davinia Porter narration is excellent, too.
Have you ever enthusiastically blabbed a ridiculous summary of a book?
[UPDATED 3/13/13 with post of my MOVIE review --> here <--.]