Anna Karenina is a literary masterpiece written by Russian master writer Leo Tolstoy. It first appeared in instalments from 1873 to 1877 in the magazine The Russian Messenger. However, due to political disagreements between the magazine editors and Tolstoy, the complete Anna Karenina did not appear until 1878 in novel form. Critics and readers alike regard it as one of the finest novels ever written. It is an exquisite work so refined and perfected that another Russian master writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, called it a ‘flawless work of art’.
To me Anna Karenina is about the story. It is about the wrongs we accept in ourselves and the rights we demand from others. It is about the true cost of principle and the true value of love; and all different kinds of love. The story may be set in 19th century Tsarist Russia but I never felt out of place. I related to every character and I never felt limited to relating only to the male characters or only the young characters. I related to every character in some meaningful way; I formed a true connection with all of them, flaws and all. This connection has left an indelible mark on my soul. I now long to understand the world as I understood those characters, in such familiar yet expansive terms. I now see love as this emancipation, not from our troubles, but from time. And in the greatest of bittersweet ironies, that love is only chained by time.
I love Vronsky, Levin, Stiva, Kitty, Dolly, and of course Anna herself. I see in them and in this story more humanity than anything in the literary realm. The words are not bound to the paper so much as they are tattooed to my very soul. I have read Anna Karenina multiple times and I still yell out loud out of shock from the character’s actions. This story truly possesses an unlimited magic that it perspires on us and we are the better for it. Tolstoy, like Hemingway and Chekhov, held great regard for the truth. And in this work of fiction there is nothing but the very essence of truth.