Classics #2: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Why I Chose This Classic
-It was recommended to me by a friend who takes part in this adorable book club in town. Because of my crazy work schedule (*cough*lifeofasinger*cough*), I'm unable to attend their meetings. So when she told me they were reading Anna Karenina for February, my blogger light bulb went off, thinking "Why hello, Classic #2... Fancy meeting you here!"
-This bad boy is 864 pages. That's 351,000 words. WHAT?!?! Let's put this in perspective. Moby Dick - 209,117 words. Lord of the Flies - 62,481 words. Mansfield Park- 159,344 words. Animal Farm - a whopping 29,966 words. That means that Anna Karenina is roughly 11 Animal Farm's put together. ELEVEN! Now, like any literary aficionado, I saw this as a straight-up challenge. In hindsight, perhaps I should have proceeded with a bit more caution. But 'est la vie, my friends.
- This long-as-hell book was originally published as an 8 PART SERIES. Which explains why it reads at the same pace as the speed of smell. From 1873-1877, Tolstoy submitted installments to a periodical - The Russian Messenger - to be published each month for readers. A 19th Century TV Soap Opera, with cliffhangers and all.
- The last installment wasn't printed due to political differences between Tolstoy and the editor of the periodical. Apparently Tolstoy's negative opinions regarding Russian volunteers being sent to fight in Serbia wasn't an opinion shared by others - namely the editor - which caused Anna Karenina to remain incomplete until 1878, when it was published as a complete novel.
- Epigraph is from Romans 12:19: "Vengeance is mine, I will repay,".
I know that according to acclaimed critics and authors everywhere, this is supposed to be the greatest novel ever written... And there are a great many things that make this novel groundbreaking! The setting, the transition between realist and modernist literature (which was breaking the mold, at the time it was written), the illustration of everyday life in Russia during the Serbian crisis, the contrast shown through the dichotomy of Anna and Levin's lives... ALL GOOD THINGS!!
But... I hated it.
It reminded me of Dr. Zhivago. I think I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from being forced to watch Dr. Zhivago by an ex, who was under the misapprehension that it was a romantic love story. WRONG. I abhor this stupid waste of film with every fiber of my being. It easily makes my Top 5 WORST Movies list, right behind Legend of the Fall. HATE.
It reminded me of Days of Our Lives, All my Children, and every other awful B-grade soap opera. These were the only things on TV when we were sick as a kid, so I can remember being home sipping on chicken soup and gatorade (or Sprite), watching these because all the early morning cartoons were over and Dish Network wasn't a thing yet. HATE.
Because I couldn't get behind the plot, the pacing, or the style of prose, I unfortunately did not enjoy this particular Classic. But to each his own.
If you loved this book, please help me!! Give me a reason to believe! Until then, I will continue to stew in my agony.