Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some Belated Thoughts on Anna Karenina

Remember last fall? Maybe you're thinking about apple orchards, Saw marathons and crispy leafs? That's normal. However, for me, the Fall of 2012 can be summed up with 2 words. Anna Karenina. Starting on September 1st I willed myself to finish the lesser of the two Tolstoy Tomes before it's new movie came out.  I finished with time to spare, but that didn't change the fact that for two whole months I was consumed with Russian love triangles and politics.

In case you've never read, or seen, or saw a reference to Anna Karenina here is a quick rundown. There are Four couples. Anna and Alexei are unhappily married. They have a son that Anna's crazy about. Alexei is REALLY dull. Stiva and Dolly are married and have a small army of children. Stiva can't keep it in his pants. Levin and Kitty are in love but then she turns him down because she thinks she'll get to marry the very pretty Vronsky, but then she doesn't and everything sucks for a while. It's okay though, they end up mostly happy. Anna and Vronsky are crazy about each other and ruin each others lives. Oh, they have a kid too, but Anna doesn't love her nearly as much as she loves her son with Alexei.

A few weeks ago I posted a list of the characters I found most frustrating in all of literature. Both Anna and Alexei Karenin/a made that list. It was because of them that it took me so long to wade through the novel, and why I had to set myself a daily page goal. My annoyance for Anna and Alexei made every chapter about their relationship a struggle. This was only improved upon when Anna's lover, Vronsky was involved. I loved Levin and Kitty's story, sans farming, and Oblonsky's ignorance and natural charisma made him hilarious.
If these names are confusing you, I made a chart. I am a master in MS paint.
Anyways, I really enjoyed about 2/3 of the book. The problem was that the third I wasn't thrilled with involved the titular Anna, her spineless lover and her dead fish of a husband. 

Reading is rarely a challenge for me. Maybe (probably) it's because I shy away from difficult books. I'll never read Pynchon again and I have no desire to force my way through Ulysses. After finishing Anna I've decided that Tolstoy is really about as much work as I plan on putting into a book for a good while. It wasn't even that Anna Karenina is a difficult read. Truly the thing that makes it complicated are all the repeated Russian names, and I've had a love affair with Historical Fiction since it was age inappropriate for me to have one so repetitiousness names don't really cause me issue.  My only honest problem was the length. Anna isn't so much an epic as it is a massive character study, so when the plot only makes minor progression over hundreds of pages I get antsy, and then bored, and then I want to throw my kindle against a wall, and then I get to a 40 page section on farming and I fall asleep. Maybe if it had been faster paced I would have enjoyed my time reading it more. 

I might come across as whiny but in hindsight I really enjoyed Anna Karenina. I won't be rereading it for a while, if ever. However I am very happy I finished it, I really enjoyed the movie and now I know what I'm in for if I ever give War & Peace a try. 

Apparently this post has been an experiment with run on sentences. Sorry guys!

1 comment:

KikiElise said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review. And the chart! :D

Book: Karenina.
I love Kitty and Levin.
Please, Anna, just die.