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book review: anna karenina

It had been probably ten years since I read Anna Karenina the first time. It felt different reading it now, as I suppose it’s supposed to.

The idea in the late stages that Anna creates this whole betrayal by Vronsky in her mind instead of accepting the way relationships change was more terrifying to me now than it was in the past. A lot of Levin’s problems and ways of dealing with them annoyed me more than they used to. I think I used to see him as some sort of idealistic hero, but on this reading his pettiness and wilful stupidity came out much more. All the bullshit around Kitty giving birth just made me want to punch him. We’ll see if I feel the same way ten years from now.

But yeah. I think this is one of those books that needs to be read. The only part of it that’s seeped into the zeitgeist is the first line, and it really needs the whole text to be at all effective (as opposed to something like Moby Dick, which most people know the first line of, but also the general idea of the story). Maybe I have a misperception about how pervasive Tolstoy is.


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