“Another row, and yet another row, followed — long rows and short rows, with good grass and with poor grass. Levin lost all sense of time, and could not have told whether it was late or early now. A change began to come over his work, which gave him immense satisfaction. In the midst of his toil there were moments during which he forgot what he was doing, and it all came easy to him. . .”       Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy 1875

This has been the surprise of the reading so far.  The book keeps going on but has so much that it deals with, it seems like it could go on much longer.  The writing style tends to change between sections, enough that one is kept immersed.  It is a man’s, or woman’s, search for meaning in a very historical and class induced sense.  The wonderful juxtaposition of the farms and society, the privileged and the peasants.  It rambles back and forth between the characters and the situations.  I’ve read this book previously but have never enjoyed it this much.  Maybe the sense of having family – the challenges and enjoyments that are painstakingly described in this book.  Maybe the sense of trying to figure where one actually fits into society.  Levin’s quest for awareness and those perfect physical moments he realizes as he works scything with his laborers.  The capture of the “physical work”, with and against the intellect is amazing.  And of course, later in the book Vronsky takes up painting and is convinced of and pompous about his own talent and understanding of art….let’s not go there.              September 2014


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