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Posted August 6, 2008
BEST ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATION EVER OF THE GREATEST NOVEL EVER WRITTEN
Let's get some 'housekeeping' out of the way first: 1. I've read this novel, usually in the Nabokov translation, every few years since high school, and that's a lot of years 2. I found this particular English language translation 'BO' 'before Oprah' 3. ' IMHO, Anna K. is the greatest novel ever written , & 4. therefore, IMHO, this is the best English translation of the greatest novel ever written. Having read this novel in various other translations no less than 20 times, I was literally thrilled beyond description after completing reading the Pevear/Volok. transalation. It was as if a curtain had been drawn back and the answers to numerous questions I'd continued to have after my first 20 readings were finally revealed. What questions? All sorts-- mostly, motivational ones, such as: 'Why, exactly, did (substitute the names of any of the novel's characters) think/feel/speak/do this, that or the other... .' For, you see, Anna K. (the novel as a whole) is quite 'psycho-analytical', if you will. If I'm not mistaken, it's counted as the first, or one of the first novels in history to delve in depth as to all human motivation in a Freudian manner. It constantly asks the question: 'Why is this character like she/he is why does she/he think/feel/speak or act as she/he does?' Prior to this translation, despite numerous close readings, many questions remained not fully realized or answered for me. I had always attributed this to the usual 'cultural differentiations' -- that is, until this translation. In short, all my questions and every vaguery have now been answered &/or clarified, and then some! At the risk of sounding cliched, it was as if I were reading a new novel-- so fresh is this translation! As for those of you who did not 'like' reading this or any other Anna K.-- stick to those novelists who spoon-feed you their 'observations.' Tolstoy replicates life, and the life of the mind better than any other writer of any time, in a way that makes the reader feel he or she is experiencing what his characters are at the very moment that it is happening, and no other writer gives the reader so broad and yet so specific a palette to 'experience' from. This novel has always been a world treasure. This translation polishes this mirrored and bejeweled treasure for us and for future generations to continue to learn from and deepens and heightens the enjoyment of current and future readers. I feel deeply indebted to the translators. Thank you!
16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2011
Read it twice couldnt put it down and often considered reading a 3rd
I read this in junior high and then again in highschool in which I got a better understanding and more indepth. My senior year I wrote a paper over it because I love it so much. The novel has multiple stories due to the many different charcters. Sometimes their stories intertwine like a soap opera that is realistic and takes place during aristocratic russia with historical events. Passion, pain, love, betrayl colour the story. Literary analysis takes the novel to a whole nother level. I recommend this book to everyone even though it is long. In conclusion this novel blew my mind away take your time enjoy it, reflect, and analyze because by far this is one of my top ten because after reading it I began to look at the world differently. This review is coming from a 2010 highschool graduate. READ THIS BOOK
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2010
Oh wow - this book is absolutely fantastic! The translators are right on the button and no wonder it was one of Oprah's book choices. Anna Karenina is my absolute favorite book ever - I have read it many, many times and it will continue to be read by me. It is just such an incredible story. I have to say that the reviewers who do not find it worthy of a proper tribute should perhaps go back to reading the daily comics, as that is probably more in line with their brain capabilities.
Do not skimp on the copy you buy - you really do get what you pay for here - it is a russian novel, translated into english - you will cringe at some of the wording used in inferior copies. Do yourself a favor - if you are going to settle down with a book of this magnitude, buy a great copy. It will definitely make your experience much more memorable. With regard to the nook varieties, do not even contemplate the free downloads - I have tried them all and the amount of spelling mistakes means you are effectively translating the translation! It is dreadful to think they are out there. This is a book for serious readers - read it, savor it and love it forever!
5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2010
Assigned reading that turned out to be really enjoyable
When I first started reading this, I kept waiting for the purpose of the story to be revealed, the reason why Tolstoy had written 800 pages about these people. Before too long, though, I was wrapped up in their lives, laughing at their absurdities and rolling my eyes at the foolish things they did. And then I got involved in the myriad details of the time: the philosophies, the politics, the modes of thought, the science and technology. About halfway through the book, I realized there wasn't a purpose, exactly, to the story. I was just dropping into these people's lives and listening for a while. Not something I usually enjoy, but Tolstoy's abrupt, descriptive language, his way of narrating the truths of a person's character, his attention to their intellectual and spiritual existence---all of these kept me intrigued and involved until the last word.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2009
the are good Translator Richard Pevear(Translator) , Larissa Volokhonsky
You should read i. It is best translation I ever read. It a most like they wrote the book
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2010
Must Read Classic!
This is a beautifully written book in terms of literary style and language. It is very long though and takes a long time to read. It stands out as a classic because of its bold theme of a taboo topic like adultery and the depth with which Tolstoy describes the thoughts and feelings of his characters. Its adult theme is geared towards a mature audience - ideally a college student or someone older. Tolstoy writes vividly about the power of beauty and charm, the attraction that ensues, the head over heels romance of Anna and Vronsky, the heady feeling that makes them forget everyone and everything around them, the dislike with which Vronsky sizes up Karenin at their first meeting, and the guilt, humiliation, and social alienation that their affair brings. He includes minute details of their body language as if he had personally seen the story unfold before his eyes and had keenly and accurately noted every detail about each character. He shows that people cannot change overnight and that promises are difficult to keep - Oblsonsky promises to be true to his wife but continues to stray. He gives glimpses into the pretentious nature of the Russian high class - they prefer to speak in French than Russian. He highlights the fact that it is only men who discuss politics.
Vronsky and Anna's romance was the best part of the book. I found the parts about Levin's farming and his doubts about the existence of God to be dull and dry, although it helped contrast the luxurious lives of the upper class with the poor conditions of the peasants. I didn't like the end. I liked the character of Karenin the most - levelheaded, even-keeled and caring (yes, he does have a heart). Anna came across as selfish, impulsive and weak - in committing adultery and her end. I wish Tolstoy had written something about the relationship between Vronsky and the daughter he had with Anna. I would have also liked to know whether or not Levin's brother, Koznyshev, ever proposed to Kitty's friend.
I feel I was mentally and emotionally a little too young to fully understand and appreciate this book - in terms of vocabulary as well as what the characters feel and why they react the way they do, especially where matters of the heart were concerned. Yet, I am glad that I read it because I was able to grasp the main message of the novel - reckless decisions in love (especially adultery) only bring doom and gloom.
High school students will also benefit from reading this classic tale. It will give them an opportunity to vicariously experience the outcome of possible future decisions. They will be better prepared to face the temptation of extra-marital love, should it surface in their lives. It'll also make them compare and contrast nineteenth century Russian society to our society today. It will make them appreciate how today's society is more accepting of people in Anna's situation. They will be glad that women have more rights now and that the middle class is much stronger.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 15, 2009
I Also Recommend:
The Characters are not flat
In response to one review I feel I have to defend this jewel of western literature and say that Tolstoi is second only to Shakespeare in his representation of character: nothing about any of the characters emotions strikes me as false, and every page is wrought with accurate and beautifully presented human emotion. Tolstoi, as Nabokov said, is the novelist of the world. Now that that pedantic statement is out of th way, I'll go on to praise this great book.
Begun a few years after finishing War and Peace Tolstoi sheds all the essay-like qualities of War and Peace (which he said wasn't a novel) and focuses on character and narration.
Deserving to be ranked alongside Don Quixote, Ulysses, and In Search of Lost Time this book is incredibly enjoyable and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Tolstoi or great literature.
Also, if anyone is a fan of Virginia Woolf they will see a very early and subtle use of free indirect discourse and incongruous first person narration of events and characters.
And, whoever enjoyed Leopold "Poldy" Bloom, or Proust's wonderfully cruel society scenes, will find in Tolstoi's Anna Karenina characters and scenes to rival, and sometimes surpass, both works.
A joy to read, especially slowly over a summer, this work can be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone who will give it a chance. If people tell you it is boring it is because they have not read it.
I can't recommend it enough.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2014
This book is titled Anna Karenina but Anna is not the only main
This book is titled Anna Karenina but Anna is not the only main character. Levin a young man trying hard to be successful at work and to marry his sweetheart. Anna on the other hand is married and also has a sweetheart on the side. Anna’s story is probably the one that dominates the book. Anna wants freedom from her husband to go off with her lover. Of course her husband is anything but happy when she tells him this.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I was more a fan of the character Levin. Although I did have trouble in his interest in farm work. I did however love the idea of Kitty and Levin as a couple even though there is struggle to get there. Levin as understand it may also be representing the author Leo Tolstoy.
Most of the characters in this book are unlikable (Anna, Vronsky, Anna’s husband, and Anna’s brother). What I found made Anna more unlikable was I saw her weakness in myself. That made me dislike her more. I wanted her to gain a little backbone and stop whining.
The book as a whole did not get interesting until exactly half way through it. And that was when Levin became more of a focus. This was a hell of a book to get through. This is definitely not one I am going to reread.
Posted August 26, 2013
BORING ME TO DEATH!
I've ready Dr. Zhivago and Crime & Punishment and couldn't put them down. This book was so rambling and digresses into useless descriptions and thoughts, straying from the story with too much distracting and bland narration that it turned me off. I also had trouble connecting with the characters. I finally watched the recent movie with Keira Knightly and I'm glad I opted for the movie version because this isn't a good story. I didn't find Anna Karenina to be a strong character. She was vain, selfish, and shallow.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2013
Beautiful translation, easy to read
Highly recommended. I tried to read another translation, but this is far superior. Very easy to read, translation flows well and language is very nice.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 11, 2013
Posted December 7, 2012
One of the greatest novels ever written. The brilliant translati
One of the greatest novels ever written. The brilliant translation makes it seem as if it were written yesterday.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
A notable achievement.
Posted July 13, 2012
Great Translation and inviting read
This translation reads so smoothly. My son, who speaks Russian, recommended it. I throughly enjoyed the journey of 1,000 pages reading about the lives of Anna and her extended family and friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The story has 5 major characters. Do not think in the beginning that you will be lost with all the names. Most characters have multiple names so start memorizing their details early and you'll breeze through the rest of the book. All the characters connect together as the chapters progress.
The writing is pure TOLSTOY - so fluid and eloquent. The adjectives are extraordinary. Tolstoy can entertain you as he writes about mowing the wheat in the field, or the elections of St. Petersburg. One can only imagine the Russian language behind his words is even more beautiful than the English used to reflect it.
I missed reading this in high school or college...and so glad I finally allowed myself the luxury and time to read about Anna.
Posted September 23, 2010
Posted June 10, 2010
When I first started reading the book, I thought it would mostly be like how it was described on the jacket (a story about Anna's affair and how it had disastrous consequences). But, to my pleasant surprise, it was all that and more. Not only is this book about Anna, but it is also about Vronsky, Kitty, Levin, and a few other characters. It's possible Tolstoy could have made this book much shorter by focusing solely on Anna's relationship, but it wouldn't have had such amazing depth. Everything is intertwined. Not a light read, but a great one :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2010
Posted December 10, 2009
A CLASSIC THAT MUST BE READ.
BEFORE GETTING THIS BOOK I WAS A LITTLE SKEPTIC ABOUT IT. WELL, I FINALLY DECIDED AND OHH DID I MAKE A GOOD DECISION. I WAS IMPRESS WITH THE WRITING STYLE AND LOVE THE PLOT. I HAD AN ARRAY OF FEELING THAT SURFACED THROUGHOUT MY READING. I THINK THAT'S WHAT EVERY WRITER WANTS. IT IS A LOVELY BOOK, MORALLY ORIENTED (I THINK) AND DEFINITELY A PAGE TURNER.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 8, 2009
This book may have been good in its day. The writing is definately excellent, but in our current time it's very slow and boring. The author spends to much time on one event which has no baring on the story. For example, there was a couple of chapters spent on Levin doing his yard work. This book is appropriate for school because it's educational and it reflects the time period very well, but not for recreational reading. If you need help falling asleep at night skip the sleeping pills and read this book.
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Posted August 16, 2009
Get ready for a read!
"Anna Karenina" paints the most amazingly vivid portrait of a handful of Russian aristocrats. Tolstoy uses this voluminous novel to delve deep into his numerous protagonists. This 'ensemble cast' of characters is quite unique and also very Tolstoy-esque.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
But unlike "War and Peace" which often overshadows "Anna Karenina," this book fearlessly concentrates on inner-exploration; there is no War to follow, just the brilliant character studies. No one does it better than Tolstoy!
So, who's YOUR favorite character?