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A flawless classic

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Reading a classic is like getting to know a best friend even better. You really have time to get to know your characters when you read a classic. With that in mind, the SAS Book Club tackles its first classic: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. In Tolstoy’s day, Russian literary critics panned Anna Karenina as a frivolous romance, but readers across Russia and Europe savoured the tumultuous love affair of Anna and Count Vronsky. Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, best known for novels like Crime and Punishment that delved deeply into the guilt-ridden mind, called Anna Karenina "flawless as a work of art". Vladimir Nabokov said he admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and  American writer William Faulkner called Anna Karenina  "the best (novel) ever written."  Now, thanks to Hollywood, readers are discovering or rediscovering this great classic. Anna Karenina and Les Miserables will be released as major movies by the end of the year. The UK Guardian is already asking which of the two movies will garner the most Academy Award nominations, Anna Karenina or Les Miserables, based on the novel by French writer Victor Hugo.    
Anna Karenina is a passionate and tragic love story between Anna Arkadyevna Karenina and the charming and mysterious Count Vronsky. Anna must decide if she will abandon her husband Count Karenin, a very important politician in Russian society, and her son as she is physically drawn to Count Vronsky. She must decide if she will break with the conventions of a rigid society and pursue her own life. Tolstoy spins a magical, riveting story around the question of whether one can ever truly be free from the bonds of society. There is another story weaved into Anna’s story and that is the  tale of Kitty and Levin. Initially, Kitty is in love with Count Vronsky. Levin’s story is mainly used to advance Tolstoy’s views on peasants and Russian agrarian society. Unless this is one of your passionate interests in life, you can easily skim through these sections paying slight courtesy to Kitty’s and Levin’s story until you get to the real story to savour: Anna and her bacchanal. As far as classics go, Anna Karenina is a manageable read. Chapters are short because Anna Karenina was originally serialised over three years in a Russian newspaper. Plan to finish Anna Karenina by the end of September. 
More Info
You can read Anna Karenina online for free or download it on your Kindle for free. 
Check out the following Web site about the movie:
Check out the trailer for Anna Karenina  at
There’s a Facebook movie page for Anna Karenina at
 Don’t forget to get your copy of Cloud Atlas and Life of Pi, the next books for our SAS Book Club.
Join the SAS book club. Just go to your Facebook page, search for SAS Book Club (group) and sign up. Join the discussion on our book club book Anna Karenina on  the SAS Book Club page.


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