Anna Karenina….Part 1, almost

September 30, 2012 § 6 Comments

Sigh.

I joined this read-along with Arti and others about two weeks ago, that is, a bit late (OK, very late)  but I’m happy to have a reason and some friends with whom to travel the books hundreds of pages. I am still in Part 1 and while such a confession should have me blushing (as many characters in the novel do on a regular basis), I’m happy just to be in it, like a marathon runner who might end up walking, due to a sore knee or a distraction like a cloud or butterfly).

We are preparing for a wedding in the family. Somehow this involves readying the house, filling the kitchen cupboards, cleaning up the yard and taking inventory of sheets and towels to accommodate guests who are flying in. And finishing reception details. And keeping an eye on the Bride. And there a lot of questions and logistics. And lists. I have the MoB’s ultimate book of lists. It’s just they’re in different note”books” so far.

So…what better time to pick up the novel Anna Karenina as a bit of a “challenge?” I haven’t read Tolstoy in several decades. And following on the heels of some of the fiction and political reading I’ve done of late, Tolstoy shines.  I am interested in every detail he provide (even to the type/species of oyster they will have at dinner) especially since his details center on character more than story, though he takes his time with story and I love the pace.  It’s wonderful, lets you be there. Every look, every blink, every bite at the table, every step, every excitement, every plunge and rise of emotion with each character. And yet, so abrupt sometimes to the point of a phrase like “He walked out.” He gives the reader tie to draw a breath.

I offer no details or quotes at the moment; I have run to the store, right now. But I am compelled to mention that the book is a huge world, and a massive writerly undertaking to which I react more than to the story itself so far.  I’m nearly to the end of part 1. That’s ok; onward.

It is worth it. And I have the same Penguin edition that Arti is reading and I like it. (Often, but not always important that the book has an aesthetic appeal.)

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