Thursday, March 31, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Anna Karenina (Part IV) by Leo Tolstoy

I made a pact with a family member to read two chapters of Anna Karenina every day (5 days/week) to finish it in approximately 5 months. The book has a total of 8 parts and I am reviewing each part as I go so I don't forget what I've read by the end. Then I'll put the separate reviews together for my Amazon review when I'm done.

You can read my reviews for the previous Parts here:


Part IV was much more exciting, dramatic and suspenseful after the long, boring Part III.  I had heard the ending of this section was going to be bad, so I was bracing myself for something terrible to happen.  It wasn't nearly as bad as what I thought.

Anna continues her relationship with Vronsky, despite her husband's warning.  Karenin talks with a lawyer about divorce, which was much more complicated legally in Russia at the time.  Frustrated and hopeless, Karenin has a heart-to-heart with Dolly about the situation.  That same night Levin and Kitty reconnect and begin planning their wedding.

Although Karenin seems unchanged by the conversation with Dolly, she says some things that stick with him later.  Karenin receives word that Anna is dying after childbirth.  He makes his way back home to Anna's bedside where he forgives her and Vronsky (also present).  Vronsky attempts suicide, but fails, leaving himself wounded.  

Anna recovers.  Karenin has forgiven her and becomes attached to the new baby girl, who is possibly underfed and crying terribly.  Anna cannot bear to live with her husband any longer.  Her brother comes to talk with her and Karenin and pleads with him to grant her a divorce.  Karenin worries that granting her a divorce will lead to her ruin, which he does not want to be responsible for.  In the end, Anna goes abroad with Vronsky, leaving behind her husband (without a divorce) and son.

I am now over half-way through the book.  On my Kindle I'm at 54%.  If the remaining sections are as exciting at Part IV, I could easily finish this book ahead of schedule.  Now that Levin is with Kitty, hopefully we will read less about farm life for a single depressed guy in Russia, which seemed to be the main theme of Part III.