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Frisbee

Danielle, I've started rereading Anna Karenina and am swept away. I agree with you about the importance of the train scenes. The characters are so vivid: I feel that I know all of them.

I've just started rereading it and will try to read a little each week. Sunday is a good day to read the classics!

Danielle

Frisbee--I am quite surprised by how easy it is to be swept away--why did I ever worry about reading Tolstoy? I do worry about what happened as the train was pulling in--and have noted Anna's feeling of a bad omen--already! I've been reading a few chapters every day, so only about 50 pages or so a week, but it seems to work out well, and I usually can't wait to pick up the book again. It's dreary and cool here, so I am very happy to curl up in under a blanket and read away!

Mrs.B.

I read another edition of this years ago but I just couldn't get through it. I heard it was because I got the wrong translation. The new one, which is the one you have, is supposed to be excellent.

maryb

I read Anna last year and thought it would have been a perfect novel to do an online group read - of about 50 pages a week. There are so many well developed characters who interact in interesting ways.

I too found that Vronsky's treatment of his mother gave me pause. I also found myself feeling very sorry for Levin because he was so bad at presenting himself to Kitty as the good and interesting man that he was, and I thought that was such a realistic.

I also remember wondering whether it really was in the best interest of Dolly to be convinced to stay with Stepan - I'm not familiar with the social history of Russia in that time but it seemed in the novel as if it really was an option for her to separate from him. And she really considered it.

Danielle

Mrs B--This is my first attempt at reading Anna K--and I think the translation is very good--it reads very smoothly. I think someone told me the Maude translation was the one that was approved by Tolstoy--I should compare them and see how they read. I think a good translation can really make a book!
Maryb--I am reading fairly slowly--about 50 pages or so and it seems to be working nicely so far. The characters are really interesting, and Tolstoy takes his time with them, so you really do get a sense of what they are like. I don't want to judge Vronsky on that passage--I'm not even sure he realizes that's how he feels, but it made me pause, too. Poor Levin, I think even Kitty wondered if she had turned away a respectable and dependable man--we shall see what happens there. I'm very curious to see how things work out with Dolly and Stepan--she was all set to leave him, and I wonder, too, if it was an option for a Russian woman at the time, and she was also aristocratic, so surely has family money. Anna didn't exactly talk her into staying, but helped her make the decision that she seemed she wanted to make ultimately. I'm curious to see what will happen next!

Castallia

Warning: mild spoilers.

I haven't really warmed up to Vronsky's character yet, either. One thing that stood out for me, in addition to the relationship with his mother was his charitable act at the train station which turned out to be more to impress Anna than out of any real empathy for the object of his charity. So far, he's coming across as a bit manipulative and disingenuous, but I can see how I might end up liking him later if his character develops.

I felt really sorry for Levin also. It's interesting how Tolstoy sets things up so that the characters all contrast with each other--it really helps the reader with getting to know all the characters better and keeping them straight from one another.

litlove

I really enjoyed these early stages of the book and found them vivid and intriguing. It's lovely to read your first experience of them!

Iris

I didn't know anything about the story going into the book, so Anna and Vronsky hooking up is new to me as well, although I can kind of see it coming. I am, I think, somewhere along the same place that you are in the book at the moment. And I agree, it is easy to read, something I didn't expect at all!

I feel bad for Levin as well! I have a feeling he's going to be the steadfast man. If it was an Austen novel, he'd surely be the hero, I think. (Okay, that might've insulted some people who think I shouldn't compare Tolstoy and Austen).

Jodie

Haha it shows how my mother brought me up that when that passage came up I automatically thought 'that is a bad man right there'. I guess it makes sense because he was sent away from home for so long and then went straight into the military. Also that passage tells us something about the way the expectations of polite society affect real relations between people: "the more outwardly obedient and deferential he was, the less he respected and loved her in his soul.". Perhaps if he was allowed to get things off his chest a bit more they'd get on better (although she sounds bit loveless really).

I think I'm about twenty pages from the end ofthe first part and I want to meet Anna's husband too. I suspect he is part of what makes he a little cruel.

Julie

It's years since I read AK, but I definitely remember finding Levin & Kitty's story much more interesting than Anna & Vronsky's.

Stefanie

You're really moving along in the book and it sounds like you are enjoying it too!

Kathleen

Sounds wonderful! I wish I could have fit this one in and participated in a read-a-long.

Dorothy W.

I'm glad you're enjoying this. I do love how 19C authors take their time to introduce their characters and set up the scene. There's no rush at all, and I like the feeling of being thoroughly enmeshed in another world. On another note, I started watching the Emma miniseries last night and was inspired to pick up Austen's novel to reread -- how wonderful 19C novels are, right?

Danielle

Castallia--I'm ambivalent about Vronsky--at first I was a little swept away as he does seem awfully charming, but that feeling towards his mother (whether he is really aware of it or not) has made me wonder a little. I'll be curious to see what he is like with Anna as he seems to have dropped Kitty--he does seem like a man who goes through women without much thought, though. I have a feeling several of the characters are going to have 'opposites'--all the better to spot their foibles and shortcomings or their goodness!
Litlove--The story does start off really well and grabs you, doesn't it? I wonder if it will get harder as I go. I'm not entirely sure what to think about several of these characters yet, but first impressions can be interesting later on.
Iris--I knew a little bit about the book, but some of it is totally new. I wish I had no idea what to expect as I like a story to unfold as I read. And I don't think it would be an insult at all to be compared to Jane Austen! I wonder if in the end Levin will be a hero?
Jodie--That crossed my mind, too! I suppose a military upbringing means he had to shut off his emotions to some extent, to maybe he is just a product of his circumstances? And his mother doesn't seem especially affectionate either. I get the feeling Anna's husband is not a good man--I was sort of expecting someone nice and quiet that I would wonder what made Anna go with Vronsky, but I have a feeling I am going to understand why very easily.
Julie--I hope Kitty and Levin might have a happier ending than others may get...
Stefanie--You know, I really am enjoying this a lot. I wish I could have an afternoon off to sit and read for a few hours. I hate only getting in bits and pieces of reading time.
Kathleen--It's hard to get in all the books you want to, isn't it? At least this is one you won't have to worry about going away and can pick it up when you have the opportunity later.
Dorothy--I love 19th century lit, too. I could happily keep going in this era. Are you watching the new adaptation of Emma? I loved it and had to buy my own copy. I've never read Emma, but I will eventually even though I have seen the movie a number of times (the books are almost always better)!

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