Reconsidering Anna

In this day and age who’s going to read an 860 page book with 7 major characters and over 150 minor ones?

Not me.

I have wanted to read Anna Karenina for a long time, but I am intimidated by the book’s length. So, like a lot of people, I watched a movie of it instead. Several movies actually, but the one I like best is the 2012, Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright with screenplay by Tom Stoppard. This version is a fantasy extravaganza that somehow still manages to capture all the glory and pathos of Imperial Russia, Levin’s adventures, Oblonsky’s dreary life, and the doomed love affair of Anna and Count Vronsky.

The movie was so entertaining I once again picked up the book. Fortunately, the introduction (by Malcolm Cowley) to the edition I have stated that Part I of the book was the best. And it was only 122 pages long. So that’s what I read and I found it to be a wonderful read.

Tolstoy’s handling of language was terrific; the story sparkled and engaged. And it was surprisingly humorous. For example, this line: Levin stopped listening and waited for the professor to leave.

I prefer happy endings, so in my stories there is almost always a happy ending. But despite Anna Karenina’s unhappy ending (most people would say, because of the unhappy ending) I recommend the book (at least Part I) and the 2012 movie.



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