Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Rate this book!
[Total: 1 vote(s) ; Average rating: 5/5]

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is an epic masterpiece that delves into the complexities of Russian society in the late 19th century. The novel is both a social commentary and a soap opera, with an exhaustive cast of characters creating their own problems.

The story follows the lives of two characters: Anna Karenina, a passionate and tragic heroine who seeks personal fulfillment, and Konstantin Levin, a spiritually-minded landowner who ultimately finds happiness.

Plot Summary

The story begins with Stepan Oblonsky’s wife Dolly discovering that her husband is having an affair. She is devastated, and Stepan writes to his sister Anna asking her to come to Moscow and convince Dolly not to leave him. Anna arrives in Moscow and successfully persuades Dolly to stay with her husband.

While in Moscow, Anna meets Count Vronsky, and they begin a passionate affair. Levin, an old friend of Stepan’s, also arrives in Moscow to propose to Kitty, Dolly’s sister. However, Levin is heartbroken when Kitty rejects his proposal, and he leaves Moscow to work on his country estate.

Anna and Vronsky’s affair becomes increasingly passionate, and they eventually decide to run away together. However, Anna is married with a son, and her husband refuses to grant her a divorce. Anna becomes increasingly desperate and depressed, and her relationship with Vronsky begins to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, Levin and Kitty marry and begin a new life on their country estate. They experience their own ups and downs, but ultimately find happiness together.

Anna’s story comes to a tragic end when she throws herself in front of a train. Her death is a stark reminder of the consequences of pursuing forbidden love in a society that values traditional values and morals.


The novel’s themes are as relevant today as they were in Tolstoy’s time. The pursuit of love, personal fulfillment, and purpose is central to the story. Anna’s tragic story shows the dangers of societal norms and the limits they impose on individual freedom.

Her love for Vronsky is forbidden, and society’s judgment ultimately leads to her downfall. The novel also explores the concept of family, duty, and loyalty. Anna’s love for her son is one of the driving forces of the story. Her inability to leave him, coupled with her love for Vronsky, creates an internal conflict that she cannot resolve.

The novel also tackles the issue of societal change. Tolstoy shows the inevitability of the decline of the aristocracy, as new values and beliefs emerge. The tension between the old and new ways of life is evident in the story, and the characters’ struggles reflect the broader societal changes that were taking place at the time.


The novel’s characters are complex and well-developed. Anna Karenina is a tragic heroine, torn between her love for Vronsky and her duty to her family. Her internal conflict is palpable, and Tolstoy skillfully portrays her descent into madness and despair. Count Vronsky, on the other hand, is a man driven by his passion for Anna. He is willing to sacrifice everything for her, but ultimately cannot save her.

Konstantin Levin is a contrast to Anna and Vronsky. He is a man searching for meaning and purpose in life, and his journey takes him through various philosophical and spiritual paths. His love for Kitty is pure and honest, and their relationship is a stark contrast to the tumultuous love affair of Anna and Vronsky.

Social Commentary

Throughout the novel, Tolstoy offers a social commentary on the changing landscape of Russian society. The upper class is struggling with the influx of Western ideas and the rise of the working class.

Tolstoy foresaw the end of the aristocracy in Russian society, with serfs already having been set free and the working class beginning to expand in power. The novel highlights the unresolved incongruities in Russia’s social system, which is labyrinthine and complex.

Get The Book Here


1. Narration and Voice Acting

The first thing that captured my attention while listening to Anna Karenina was the narration. The book was narrated by Devina Porter, a talented voice actor whose skills shone brightly in this production. Her narration made the characters come alive, and her ability to capture the tone, emotions, and nuances of each character was impressive. It was as if the characters were speaking to me directly, making the book more engaging and enjoyable.

2. Detailed and Fascinating Portrayal of Russian Society

Anna Karenina is a book that provides a snapshot of life in turn-of-the-century Russia. Tolstoy’s descriptions and explanations of the social and political landscape of Russia during this period were both informative and intriguing.

Through the characters, readers learn about the attitudes and ideas of the populace, from the princes to the commoners. The novel explores topics such as education, women’s rights, politics, agriculture, and labor. The author’s portrayal of society’s attempts to change while remaining the same provides an insightful commentary on the period’s historical and cultural context.

3. Subtle Influences of Relationships

One of the most striking features of Anna Karenina is the portrayal of the subtle influences of relationships. Tolstoy’s portrayal of how insecurity, depression, stress, and social isolation affect people is exemplary.

The novel explores the role of trust, pride, and the commonplace attitude of mistresses, demonstrating how society and individuals can influence the happiness of others. The book is an excellent study of relationships, showcasing how they radiate, twist, turn, and snag in different times, for different reasons, and in different ways.


1. Lengthy and Slow-Paced Narrative

One of the major drawbacks of Anna Karenina is its length and slow-paced narrative. The book is over 800 pages long and can take a considerable amount of time to read or listen to. While some readers may enjoy a leisurely pace, others may find it too drawn-out and tedious. The slow pacing can make it difficult to maintain interest in the story, and some readers may lose track of the plot or characters.

2. Dense and Complex Writing Style

Tolstoy’s writing style in Anna Karenina is dense and complex, which can make it challenging for some readers to understand or appreciate. The novel uses a lot of symbolism and metaphor, and the language can be archaic and difficult to follow. The dense prose may also make it hard to distinguish between characters or keep track of the multiple storylines, which can be confusing and frustrating for some readers.

3. Depressing and Tragic Themes

Another potential drawback of Anna Karenina is its depressing and tragic themes. The novel explores the destructive nature of love, infidelity, and societal expectations. The characters’ relationships are often tumultuous and unhappy, and the consequences of their actions are severe. The novel can be emotionally draining and may not be suitable for readers looking for a light or uplifting read. Some readers may find the themes of the book to be too heavy or depressing for their tastes.


Anna Karenina is a captivating and timeless tale of love, passion, and tragedy that continues to resonate with readers today. Tolstoy’s skillful intertwining of characters and stories creates a rich and complex portrait of 19th-century Russian society, while his exploration of universal themes ensures the novel’s enduring appeal. Anna Karenina is a literary masterpiece that deserves to be read and appreciated by generations to come.

Buy The Book: Anna Karenina

If you want to buy the book Anna Karenina, you can get it from the following links:

Rate this book!
[Total: 1 vote(s) ; Average rating: 5/5]

Wait! Do You Want to Start a Blog and Make Money?

This 21-year-old student made $7,395 in just one week by blogging.

That’s more than $1K a day!

If he can do it, you can too!

Let's check out how he did it so that you can copy his success!

Learn How to Make Money Blogging Here

Leave a Comment