Still Lost in ANNA KARENINA

Self is resisting the ending so much that she’s continuously re-reading.

A few nights ago, she was within 100 pages of the end (p. 850), but now she’s back on p. 504.

Anna Karenina is probably self’s favorite novel in years (One can always tell which books are her favorites because they take self aaaages to finish).  Lately, her favorite reads have tended to be history —  like Adrian Goldsworthy’s Caesar:  Life of a Colossus.  That book took her three weeks to finish, last year.

Ian McEwan’s Atonement took up most of March 2012 (She was in Bacolod.  Reading, there, is like heaven.  Or, anyway, was like heaven.  Now self thinks that is purely an “outsider” experience.  If one truly belonged to Bacolod, one would be too busy to read anything except the newspapers.  Or e-mail)

One of self’s favorite characters in Anna Karenina is Levin.  She loves his farming musings, his tussles with his laborers, his anguish over his unrequited love(s).  On p. 504, Levin has been married to Kitty for three months.  Tolstoy is so sly a writer that he can’t leave Levin alone.  No!  Now Levin must understand something he didn’t know before:

At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness.  He was happy; but upon entering upon family life, he saw at every step that it was utterly different from what he had imagined.  At every step he experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat.  He saw that it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly; that one had to think too, not for an instant to forget where one was floating; and that there was water under one, and that one must row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore; and that it was only to look at it that was easy; but that doing it, though very delightful, was very difficult.

During the month following Levin and Kitty’s wedding, the two experienced “a peculiarly vivid sense of tension, as it were, a tugging in opposite directions of the chain by which they were bound.  Altogether . . .  the month after their wedding —  from which by tradition Levin expected so much, was not merely a time of sweetness, but remained in the memories of both as the bitterest and most humiliating period of their lives.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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