Widely considered a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first real novel and Dostoevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art". His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written". The novel is currently enjoying enormous popularity, as demonstrated by a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors by J. Peder Zane, published in 2007 in The Top Ten, which declared that Anna Karenina is the "greatest novel ever written".
A bachelor, Vronsky is willing to marry her if she would agree to leave her husband Karenin, a government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, her own insecurities and Karenin's indecision. Although Vronsky eventually takes Anna to Europe where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. Back in Russia, she is shunned, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky pursues his social life. Despite Vronsky's reassurances she grows increasingly possessive and paranoid about his imagined infidelity.
About the Maude translation:
The translation by Aylmer Maude (1858-1938) and Louise Shanks Maude (1855-1939) is highly considered by scholars. This unabridged and annotated translation from the original russian by Louise and Aylmer Maude was originally published in 1918. The Maudes are classical translators of Leo Tolstoy who worked directly with the author and gained his personal endorsement.