Анна Каренина

These are my first thoughts on Anna Karenina.

Right now I’ve reached chapter twenty-four of this eight-hundred page realism piece. Like many novels written in the 19th century, it’s very realistic, but also quite dry. Not so dry that I can’t struggle through until it gets interesting, but I want to state here and now that it is a struggle.

I would like to note that engaging fiction is eternal. There are certain page turners featured in the Bible, Michael, a Pastoral Poem, remains a real tear-jerker for me even now, and even The Count of Monte Cristo had me interested from chapter four.

What I like

Characters

As of Chapter eighteen

I am fond of Konstantin Levin, and that is all.

I vaguely enjoy the company of Kitty, and even of Anna, but everyone else seems rather flat.

Alexei Vronsky feels like an antagonist of sorts  to me, and so the fact that I do not like him should be considered a positive factor. He is an immature, but well liked young man who has no wish to ever marry. Foolish.

As of Chapter Twenty-Five

alexei vronsky on Tumblr
Alexei Vronsky, as portrayed in 2012.

Alright, Vronsky is becoming more and more an interesting character, even more so than Anna, whom I am beginning to detest.

Kitty seems to be taking the spotlight, and that makes me very happy. Kitty is developing into quite a nice character! I really like her, she wishes to be mild and calm like her new friend, but it seems she’s destined to have a far more interesting temperament.

And then Levin’s brother appears! Oh how things are getting interesting. But, not so interesting that I draw myself away from The Count of Monte Cristo. That’s one of the great things about serial fiction, they have to be interesting at every chapter in order to keep people reading week after week. I could learn a thing or two!

Kitty Scherbatsky (Portrait of Julie Manet by Pierre-Auguste Renoir)
Kitty Scherbatsky (Portrait of Julie Manet by Pierre-Auguste Renoir), as suggested by Christopher of Goodreads.com

Anyway, I hope things continue to become more and more interesting, and that the characters continue to gain depth. To be honest, all of the character development so far seems very surface level, and almost disappointing.

Now Kitty and Vronsky are getting some much needed development, and I hope that this trend will continue deeper, and maybe even spread to other characters in later chapters.

I cannot say I’m surprised by how slow this book has started, as it was customary for fiction at the time, and also might still be normal in Russian fiction for all I know.

I got this recommendation when I was looking for romance books by male authors, as the only romances I had read so far were by women, who seem to dominate the genre. I knew nothing of Anna Karenina, and supposed that it was set in Russia. I wondered when it was written and in what country. I was quite surprised to find that it was written in Russia in 1877. Wow!

Expect an update, but only if the novel is worth talking about after I’ve finished it!

Table of Contents