Sunday, 23 June 2013

Finish reading "Anna Karenina"

After 15 days.
(I read rather slowly- and don't have the habit of finishing 1 book in 1 sitting). 

- Do I love the novel? 
I do. It's a masterpiece. The fact that I don't particularly like the last part (part 8), especially the last chapter, is because of my personal religious view, and it doesn't interfere with my perception of the novel as a whole as well as the impression and impact it has created during my reading. 

- Do I like Tolstoy? 
I love him and now place him at the top of my list of favourite authors, above F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, J. D. Salinger, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, Vladimir Nabokov, Patrick Sueskind, Isabel Allende, etc. I don't agree with many of his views, but on 1 hand people have different religious and political views depending on the society, culture and period to which they belong and I don't necessarily have to have the same views with an author most of the time in order to recognise and appreciate his genius, on the other hand Tolstoy creates a world full of people of a variety of personalities and views, who think and act and talk in accordance with who they're supposed to be, Tolstoy doesn't jump in and talk for the characters (like many writers do), so in my opinion his personal views don't matter very much to a reader. 

- Do I change my perception of Anna Karenina after finishing the book? 
A little. Before reading the book, on account of the various film adaptations, I saw her only as a victim. I no longer think so, or to be precise, she's still a victim, but of the hypocrisy and meanness of people in society and of her own faults at the same time. She gets on my nerves sometimes. However, it must be added that I still like her and sympathise with her, because I understand her and find some part of myself in her. 

- How do I see her in comparison with Emma Bovary? 
To compare them I must make a long list of traits, but to put it most simply, Anna's tragedy is caused by both public pressure and herself, which develops slowly and gradually and convincingly and which isn't inevitable right from the beginning, whereas Emma's downfall is caused by herself and herself alone and it can be seen right from the 1st chapters that she's going straight to hell. In both cases, they lose themselves in their love and become weak and dependent, but I can perfectly understand Anna due to the position in which she's trapped, while Emma appears to me purely idiotic, sentimental and self-deluded. 

- Do I recommend it to other people?
YES YES YES. Obviously. The book has shown me what a writer can do with his pen and simultaneously changed my perspective on lots of things. What are you waiting for? Read it now. 

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