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Leo Tolstoy’s most personal novel, Anna Karenina scrutinizes fundamental ethical and theological questions through the tragic story of its eponymous heroine. Anna is desperately pursuing a good, “moral” life, standing for honesty and sincerity. Passion drives her to adultery, and this flies in the face of the corrupt Russian bourgeoisie. Meanwhile, the aristocrat Konstantin Levin is struggling to reconcile reason with passion, espousing a Christian anarchism that Tolstoy himself believed in.
Acclaimed by critics and readers alike, Anna Karenina presents a poignant blend of realism and lyricism that makes it one of the most perfect, enduring novels of all time.
The new translation into accurate and readable English by Kyril Zinovieff and Jenny Hughes surpasses even the most recent version by Richard Pevear and Melissa Volokhonsky … [it] makes the word order sound as natural in English as was the original in Tolstoy’s Russian.
Tolstoy’s greatness lies in not turning the story into sentimental tragedy … His world is huge and vast, filled with complex family lives and great social events. His characters are well-rounded presences. They have complete passions: a desire for love, but also an inner moral depth.
What I confidently named the greatest social novel of world literature is in fact a novel against society.
Anna Karenina is a perfect work of art. This novel contains a humane message that has not yet been heeded in Europe and that is much needed by the people of the western world.
It’s so fantastic that it can be read over and over again … I don’t know any other writer who is so adept at peopling their pages.
Kyril Zinovieff has produced a fine, intelligent, sensitive translation that brings the Russian text alive in a way that immediately enriches a reader's awareness of its intentions and nuances.
East West Review
The truth is we are not to take Anna Karenina as a work of art: we are to take it as a piece of life.
Tolstoy is the greatest Russian writer of prose fiction.
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) is regarded by some as the greatest novelist of all time. With such masterpieces as Anna Karenina and War and Peace, he influenced generations of writers and changed the course of world literature.