Anna Karenina: Part 1,2,3 and 4 (Paperback)
A well respected translator of Russian fiction, Schwartz was determined to give us Anna Karenina as Tolstoy wrote it: In the simple, unadorned language he preferred. I found this translation immensely powerful - bringing me to tears at times. It is also illuminating -revealing nuances in the characters I'd never before grasped. The cogent introduction by Gary Saul Morson, which summarizes the novel's central themes, provides a great starting point for book club discussion.— Samantha
Anna Karenina is the tragedy of married aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother's unbridled womanizing-something that prefigures her own later situation, though with less tolerance for her by others. A bachelor, Vronsky is eager to marry her if she would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, her own insecurities and Karenin's indecision. Although Vronsky and Anna go to Italy where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky's reassurances she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity, fearing loss of control. A parallel story within the novel is that of Konstantin Levin, a country landowner who desires to marry Kitty, sister to Dolly and sister-in-law to Anna's brother Oblonsky. Konstantin has to propose twice before Kitty accepts. The novel details Konstantin's difficulties managing his estate, his eventual marriage, and personal issues, until the birth of his first child.