Friday, April 06, 2007

My second Russian novel this year and again it looks at relationships. There are three main sets it looks at:
Anna - her husband - her lover Vronsky
Stiva (Stepan Oblonsky) - his wife Dolly
Levin - his wife Kitty
Anna and Stiva are brother and sister, Dolly and Kitty are sisters.

Although the book is not outwardly judgemental, those having affairs do come to msotly bad ends. Anna throws herself under a train, Vronsky goes off to war and we assume to his death, Stiva loses much of his money and has to get his wife to sell part of her estate to pay off his debts. Levin by contrast lives happily with his wife and their son, he even finds faith by the end of the novel.

I felt sorry for Anna even though she did bring most of her troubles upon herself. She was shunned by society whilst her lover Vronsky was still accepted and praised. Also for her son Seryozha with her husband who essentially grows up without his mother and living with a father who is cold to him. Her poor husband who hasn't really committed any crime must also be remembered despite being mostly a secondary character.

It was well written and I enjoyed it, however I was let down by the last part which left too much unsaid. I would have liked to have known what happened to Anna's husband Alexei and whether he found love after his wife died with Lydia Ivanovna and whether he mourned his wife's suicide.

*** out of 5 overall.