There are many stages to reading this novel. These stages can be compared to any other stages, like a breakup or the stages of falling in love. There are, of course, some differences. The stages are listed below:
- Wow! – That was the first stage for me at least. Wow. Just wow. 800 pages of pure unadulterated pleasure! (or maybe it was adulterate…) but it was certainly going to be enjoyable. Even the look of those pages and that lovely artwork. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and to read all about Anna Karenina and her tragic life.
- Sure… This could also be described as the confused stage. After the first few random short chapters, you begin to wonder, where exactly is this going, and how long will it take to get there? Who’s Levin? Why wasn’t he mentioned on the back of the book? And why is he so obsessed with farming? And Oblonsky and his marriage troubles?
- What? Now you really are beginning to wonder what the hell is going on. After a brief bundle of heartwrenching chapters about Anna Karenina, suddenly, you are in the middle of nowhere with some random, bland, uninteresting man called Constantine Levin. He’s got a brother who seems to be living in sin as it were. And now they’re farming. Again. Great. Tragic love story? Or is it a tragic farming story?
- Good! Back to Anna and her love affair with Vronsky – juicy – and interesting. Oh no! Vronskey’s horse – that was sad. Oh wait. No. Never mind.
- Jesus Christ! This exclamation is usually followed by thowing those 800 pages on the floor angrily and reading Roald Dahl. For me, it was followed by eating a lot of chocolate and crying over my lost childhood. And all because we were somehow back to Levin and his God Damn FARM! Seriously?
- The Break-Up: You kiss goodbye to Anna and her sensuous self. You know it’s not permanent, but you need a break. This woman is demanding! When she’s not having nightmares and epiphanies about her doom, she’s doing… well, nothing. And all the while, Levin is farming, and Tolstoy is busy expressing his political views through the 80 odd main characters. You retreat to the world of accessible fiction for two months.
- Refreshed: It doesn’t seem so bad now. You’ve read a few books in between, you feel relaxed again as you peruse its gorgous pages. That artwork on the cover really is beautiful! You feel confident that one day, you will finish it. One day…