Anna Karenina Review – Part 4
You know those trick birthday candles? Those totems of classic mirth, that no matter how much you blow, they pop into life again, and break children’s hearts when they interpret their inability to blow out the flame as a divine signal that their wish has immediately been rejected? (nope? Just me, then. I’ll save it for therapy.)
Well, that’s how I’m feeling about Anna Karenina. I am nearly finished, or at least I think I am, as no matter how much I read, there’s more pages! I feel like I’ve been reading this book forever! Back when I started people were jitterbugging, eating Spam and being wowed by Etch-a-Sketches.
It doesn’t help that I’m at such an annoying part. Lëvin and Kitty are pretty much sorted, and so if anything comes along in these last few pages and ruins their happy family, I will be livid, but Anna! Oh, Anna! I really don’t want to endorse violence, but someone really should lamp that women over head with a baguette. She’s being all upset with Vronsky, misconstruing everything he says to make it fit the mental image she holds of him as a man who no longer loves her and wants to be free, and we all know if you repeatedly accuse somebody of not loving you, chances it will come about.
She’s obviously not well, but she’s also a spoiled brat who wants power, and everything her own way. She is the Stalin of novel heroines. She may magnetise men, appear intelligent and act in a philanthropic manner to young girls she can bless with an education, but to me Anna Karenina is a book about a woman who must have what she wants, to matter how much it hurts others, but like all people who constantly want things, it’s never enough. She has left a trail of pain in her wake, and yet she has the gall to play the most injured of all the parties. Nobody’s life is genuinely improved by having known her. The son she abandoned is now at school and upset by even the memory of her, she doesn’t love her daughter, her legal husband has had his life blighted by her infidelity, and her new hobby is making the man she gave it all up for miserable. Taunting and tormenting him. She is a one-woman vortex of despair.
Still, hats off to Tolstoy for creating characters that engage me so much I want to beat them about the head with baked goods, and care very deeply that their babies are delivered successfully, but I cannot wait to be done with this book!
Oh, oh! How dare you!