Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
arent many books that can shout the meaning as does Leo
Tolstoy in Anna Karenina. Its a book for the young
who want to learn the lessons that winning and losing in love
bring. This book is for the old, who find themselves searching
their life for truth or for meaning in the relationships of their
lives. This book is about life, about living, about understanding;
this book is about learning to love in spite of it all.
Reviews are the
hardest to write when the is exceptional. As a reviewer, I was
certainly reticent to write a review of Anna Karenina;
after reading the book, so much still seems impossibly trapped
inside. Tolstoys story covers every element of storytelling:
intrigue, betrayal, happiness, and sorrow, but most of all, Mr.
Tolstoys book teaches us the pain of love, the chase, and
even the fall of chasing this ominous feeling. As anyone knows,
these kinds of lessons never age or yellow with time.
Written in the
1870s, Karenina retains universal appeal because of the
strong messages woven within its large spine. This edition by
Pevear and Volokhonsky is especially good because it renders Mr.
Tolstoys Russian more faithfully than earlier ones and presents
his characters with an honesty that other translations seem to
lack. This translation is one that you could only get from a true
Russsian, Volokhonskaya, working with an English-speaking person,
Pevear; the result is an edition that honors both languages.
The story revolves
around seven different people in 1870s Russia. Although Anna
Karenina lends time to superficial ideas, in the larger limelight,
we see Anna Karenina is about the tragic love affair between
Anna Karenina and Vronsky. Its about the rise and fall of
the seemingly strong feminine figure. Its about her apparent
weakness for someone she loves; a weakness even the strongest
reader can relate to. Alongside the plight of this love affair,
is a story equally as strong, the story of a nobleman Konstantine
Levin, who has been said to share some of the same beliefs as
Tolstoy himself. Konstantine Levin questions the meaning of life,
the honesty of hard labor, his own spiritual beliefs, or lack
thereof. Konstantine even contemplates suicide. But true to the
strength of a one of Mr. Tolstoys character, Konstantine
Levin triumphs, coming up from even the lowest of lows, and finds
love in the mild and tender Kitty.
is sometimes too sensational, too intricate, too overwhelming
with long thought; its unmanageable because of its structure and
hard-to-follow dialogue. But stick with it for its human experience;
read it for the new outlook on life it will give you, keep it
near you for the life lessons it contains. Its a serendipitous
story, a coin with many sides, nothing in it is black and white
and the reader spends most of these pages in a state of grayness;
a pleasant state of everything and all these lives meshing together.
Everything in the book happens the way it is supposed to happen.
Each character reaches the appropriate end. And the reader, too,
reaches an end along with the book. A road that takes you to someplace
better, a road that brings you closer to yourself. The 800 pages
of this novel simply melt away and can only be appreciated by
readers who are willing to dig and grasp at the many facets of
humanity Mr. Tolstoy presents. Its well worth taking the
time to understand everything this author is trying to say.
is honest; every sentence is meticulously done and every effort
is executed thoughtfully. As a result, Mr. Tolstoys message
goes directly to a readers heart. And truthfully, Mr. Tolstoys
truths are sometimes hard to grasp. There are parts of the novel
where Tolstoy has taken the liberty of sharing some of his often-cumbersome
beliefs regarding his patriarchal world. But bear with him during
these sometimes too long paragraphs and breathless sentenceshes
going somewhere with it. His words dont bite until sometimes
hours later, when the mind begins to quiet. It is then that we
see what he was trying to say. It is then that we understand the
human inequities he was trying to untwist and untie for us. It
seems strange to still be trying to figure out the story long
after the book is put down because books while often memorable,
seem to stay within their meaning inside the pages. Mr. Tolstoy
reminds us that human flaws as well as triumphsthe true
ones, always stay the same throughout time.