Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Entertainment Weekly rated Anna Karenina as #1 in their “Top 100 Novels of All Time” so I got a copy and started reading. One tiny bit of my personal mythology is that I read Anna Karenina is high school, but the copy I found in the tiny library of the tiny school I attended was missing the last few pages. But if I did in fact read the book in the middle of the last century, I’ve forgotten everything about it. So, I’m changing my personal mythology. I don’t know where my false memory came from. Funny, the book I read had a baby blue cloth cover.

My digital reader tells me I’m 87% of the way through it in this century, and I’d say that if it is not the best novel I’ve ever read it is certainly the most thorough in its treatment of Anna’s fall from grace. The counter point to the Anna/Vronsky/Karenin plot is the Kitty/Vronsky/Levin plot, and that plot is so completely developed than I wonder why the book wasn’t entitled “Kostya Levin.” The development of both plots is so detailed that I’m compelled to attend closely to every sentence, every paragraph, for fear I’ll miss some telling elaboration of the truth. And page after page my critical self is nodding in assent: “yes, that’s true–so true.”

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