Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina - Alymer Maude, Louise Maude, Leo Tolstoy I read the other day that Anna Karenina was one of the three books Ayn Rand utterly detested. I smiled as I read the final philosophical musings of Levin, knowing exactly what exasperated Rand about the story. Having read The Fountainhead this past fall, it has a lot of similarities in its structure to Anna Karenina...however, with the exact opposite literary and philosophical aim in mind. I must say that I did not anticipate all the cultural and political tangents the story would involve. I admire clean, uncluttered stories, and I equate these tangents with personal conceits of the author. Sometimes long books are like long legislative bills: their sheer bulk allows you to hide a bit of "pork" inside. The conceits of Tolstoy are not uninteresting in and of themselves, particularly in anticipation of the First World War and Russian Revolution, but they detract from the power and impact of the story.

The other thing this book made me wonder is "Did Tolstoy sympathize with Anna and her plight as a woman trapped in a traditional society completely unsympathetic to her condition, or did Tolstoy feel that Anna was in the wrong and reaped a justice deserving of her crime?"