Russian Beauty: On Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy’s masterwork commands an ever-larger readership, one that defies boundaries imposed by time, space, and language. Small wonder that it is often considered the best modern novel. Marian Schwartz, the eminent translator of Russian literature, sees its power as lying in its formal near-perfection and its author’s ability to evoke without effort the inner lives of wildly varying characters — and to weave their diverging stories into a single whole.

A love story for the ages. A piercing study of the nuclear family. An examination of change, decay, and renewal in Russia’s soul. A meditation on religion and the secular world, the differences between erotic and spiritual love, and the loneliness …

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