Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anna Karenina, up to Part 4

My online book club is reading Tolstoy's marvelous novel about infidelity, Anna Karenina. Here are my comments on Parts I - III:
This is my second time reading Anna. I have Sean's version* and agree that it's a very accessible translation. I'm not sure what translation I read before, but the characters were harder to keep track of and the read was tougher.

That said, I love this book. I'm learning a lot as a writer about how to reveal characters' reactions, thoughts and motivations. Tolstoy does this so naturally and gracefully. Also, I find the plot structure very natural. He goes in and out of Levin and Anna's worlds without making a reader feel it's jumpy or overly aware of what he's doing (so next I expect to return to Levin's country estate, then back to Anna). 

I'm learning a lot about the real history, how people thought about workers and society. It's interesting that Levin opposed universal education and that he had an explanation for seeing it as not good for Russia. I disagree, but thought that at the time that would be an issue with two sides to it. 
I really look forward to my daily reading and suggest you give Anna a try if you haven't.
*This is the version Oprah recommended a few years ago by Pevear and Volokhonsky. Jack, the group's leader, said his translation, an older one, made for slower reading.

I don't know if it's the translation or if it's because I've read this before, but I am not as confused or put off by all the Russian names and nicknames. 

1 comment:

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