the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog
intertext

Blogging Anna Karenina: Part One (to Chapter 20)

After the howling success of reading the Brothers K last summer and hating, hating, hating it, what have I let myself in for, reading another Russian novel with K in the title? Really, it's just so that I get some use out of my nifty icon.

No, really, it's that I've been meaning to read Anna K, and decided to try signing up for "Daily Lit" - a service whereby you are sent a snippet of a work every day at a set time in your email box. Anna K is divided up into over 400 parts, so it'll be over a year before I'm finished at this rate. You _can_ read ahead, but of course, typical for me, I'm already behind. I will catch up, but meanwhile have just come to the end of an episode in Part One, and thought I would blog it so that I have some record of this reading marathon.

Just as a side note - I'm really enjoying this way of reading it. Because you only get a snippet, I find I am really savouring it, and that I am retaining things much better than I normally do. The other advantage is that I'm quite familiar with the plot and characters, having seen a BBC adaptation and just being familiar with it from general reading and exposure to literature.

Anyway: part one. We have now been introduced to all the major players except Karenin himself: Anna, Vronsky, Kitty, Levin, Dolly and ... her husband whose name I forget, the guy who at the opening of the novel is berating himself and on the outs with Dolly because he's been having an affair. Levin has proposed to Kitty and been turned down, because Kitty is being wooed by Vronsky. Anna is staying with Dolly and her husband - who is her brother. Anna and Vronsky have met, and Anna felt something stir...

I'm impressed with the way that this whole early section is theme and variations on love and infidelity, setting up what's going to happen. Also, there's an incident where someone throws himself under a train, and we are told what a quick and easy way it would be to die. Interesting. There are a lot of characters, but the focus is fairly limited. I like the way the point of view moves from character to character, so that you have some controlling omniscient narrator but are given access to different characters' thoughts.
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