Anna Karenina (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 a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel, when he came to consider War and Peace to be more than a novel. Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared it "flawless as a work of art." His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style," and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as, "the best ever written." Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married aristocrat/socialite 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 she would experience less tolerance by others. A bachelor, Vronsky is eager to marry her if she would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, the moral laws of the Russian Orthodox Church, 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.