Anna Karenina review – Part 2

I am just over halfway through this book, and mercifully, Lëvin has (for the minute) stopped going on about farming methods. It was all well and good when he was actually having a go at scything and sharing bread with peasants, but then he started getting all socio-political and I found myself wondering how the knocked-up Anna was getting along.

And so to Anna, who is convinced she will die in childbirth. And Lëvin, now he’s not talking about farming, has come over all emo/goth. Between listening to The Cure, ruining his mum’s towels with black hair dye and watching rain-drops on the window, he has come to the conclusion life doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Everything is futile, and so he is not just ready, but happy to die. And Karenin, who now that he feels no alternative but to divorce his wife, probably also wishes it was all over.

Meanwhile, Nikolai, Lëvin’s seriously ill brother is hoping to travel and be productive, and Stepan, Anna’s brother, is hoping to have nice dinners and get his friends together, which makes me think they both have more of a handle on the value and fleeting nature of life than the grumps they are surrounded by.

Vronsky, the cad that Anna is having an affair with, after being responsible for his horses’ death (not forgiven, nope, never!) has been trying to kiss ballerinas. And worst of all, after a meeting with the big, hormonal, jealous Anna, he has decided she is like a flower, that was ruined by picking. Translation – women are great, but less so once you’ve had them. Well, thanks very much. It was at that point that I wanted to reach into the pages and punch Vronsky in his obnoxious, horse-killing face. Hard.

And so to end on a song. I initially thought something cheery, but let’s face it, groove aint ever gonna be in any of these folks’ hearts, so Johnny Cash doing a NIN song seems the only option, and has a line perfect for Vronsky – ‘I will let you down, I will make you hurt’