Oprah’s Book Club called the classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy “the Harlequin romance of its day... a sexy and engrossing read. (Anna Karenina) tells the tale of one of the most enthralling love affairs in the history of literature.” On the surface, it might seem that Anna Karenina, our current SAS Book Club featured novel, is only about Anna’s journey from the dutiful wife of an important, middle-aged, conservative politician to the scorned lover of a dashing, young, carefree cavalry officer, but make no mistake about it: Anna Karenina is not just a frivolous love story. Love is merely the vehicle Tolstoy uses to examine the rules of society, the role of women and men in society and the relationships that define families. Tolstoy dissects religion and social hierarchy through subplots that capture issues of Russian society, but Anna Karenina is not an old-fashioned, stuffy novel buried in archaic Russian society. It is a classic, a novel that has stood the test of time because readers simply cannot forget Tolstoy’s memorable characters or provocative conflicts.
Anna Karenina is surprisingly modern in many ways. Its themes of family, love and duty along with its conflicts of jealousy vs confidence; revenge vs compassion give this novel a modern feel. A good novel makes readers assess their lives and Anna Karenina is no exception. The biggest question is what is more important: personal happiness or commitment? Readers must consider this: Do we really have the choice of doing whatever we want in life? Is it more important to follow our hearts or our conscience? In many ways, Anna Karenina raises endless questions that make us consider the decisions we all make in life. Many people are intimidated by the size of a classic like Anna Karenina, but trust me, it’s a riveting read with short, manageable chapters. You can read Anna Karenina online for free. Check out the following Web sites about Anna Karenina and make sure you check out the Trinidad Guardian SAS Book Club on Facebook for more discussion on Anna Karenina our book club book for the month of September.
2. For those who want a scholarly approach to Anna Karenina try http://www.bartleby.com/316/
with an original translation of Anna Karenina and early critiques of the novel.