Anna Karenina is the longest novel I have read and at 800+ pages of comparatively small text, it is a long novel. Even though it is long and Leo Tolstoy has a habit of veering off course from what seems like the primary plot of the story and talk about things like agriculture. Truth is, it is all an integral part of the story and in a way, what makes it such an interesting and comprehensive read.
Anna Karenina is not just a romantic story that we are accustomed to reading these days; rather it is a story of life and love, of love gained and love lost. How love can take us to celestial heights and then drown us in the pits of sorrow and make us self-destruct.
It is also a story of adultery; of a married lady being successfully courted by a bachelor and leaving behind what she feels is a love less stale life and heading towards lifetime of love and companionship, while risking and indeed losing everything she held dear, even her son.
Something that I see all too commonplace in our society these days and even though I strongly disapprove of it, I cannot help but feel for her and understand her perspective and not judge her for her actions, for they were guided by love (not that I judge those indulging in similar course of action in our society, to each his own after all). Of course that only makes you sympathies more with the husband, who in a stroke of moment transforms from a coward and shrewd person to the most compassionate human being in the story.
And this is what makes Anna Karenina the wonderful story that it is. No one is what they were in the beginning of the story, as life, experiences and love slowly transforms them into something you couldn’t have initially imagined and while some become the beautiful butterflies, other become moths and lose their way by being drown to a world of uncertainty and sorrow.
I guess it wouldn’t be incorrect to call Anna Karenina, story of life, relevant as much today as it was in the 19th century Russia with brilliant writing and flow of emotions, that only a handful of literary geniuses are capable of producing and thus a must read for everyone!