Described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written and by Fyodor Dostoevsky as “flawless”, Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.
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Okay, yes, this is Big Serious Russian Literature. But put that out of your mind! When you get right down to it, Anna Karenina is the story of a smart, passionate woman whose ultimate unraveling is as heartbreaking as that of any of our favorite romantic heroines, from the Brontës to Jojo Moyes. Leo Tolstoy skillfully weaves the romance between the countess Anna and the debonair cavalry officer Vronsky into a wider story of politics, class, and religion. It’s like getting a fascinating lesson in 19th century history alongside a deeply emotional love story. And did we mention it’s kinda sexy?