Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a book I attempted repeatedly without much success. The translation I had was “wrong”; I couldn’t find the ‘right’ time for it – couldn’t find time at all on some occasions. But I’ve put aside Middlemarch for this. While I enjoyed what I read of Eliot’s prose, I just didn’t have the time to devote to it. Large sections of it are digressions from the plot; it’s sort of difficult to pick the book up again only to find yourself in the middle of a contemplation on the flaws of medicinal practices in rural England.
With Anna Karenina, on the other hand, Tolstoy weaves such a rich tapestry that it’s possible to leave this for months on end, and still be able to re-immerse yourself in it. Each chapter stands on its own, and doesn’t need the others to support it.
I only just finished it this morning, and I haven’t had time to think about it, so this isn’t really a ‘review’. I just wanted to assert that sometimes you do need to find the “right time” for a book. Keeping away from this blog has definitely allowed me to do that. I no longer feel pressured to constantly read and read and read just so I can post. I no longer compile list after list of books I want to read, but leisurely pick one off a shelf whenever I’m in the mood for it. I no longer feel bad about re-reading books. In fact, I no longer feel bad about having unread books on my shelf. I know I’ll get around to them eventually.
P.S. I realised I didn’t hate the Constance Garnett translation after all. Although it probably isn’t nearly as ‘Russian’ or modern as the Pevear-Volokhonsky, I actually came to prefer the Garnett because it had a proseyness to it that I liked. Gave it a distinctly 19th century feel. I’m not entirely sure what I mean by ‘proseyness’ because all novels are in prose., but whatever. Given up trying to express myself coherently, hopefully you understand what I mean.
» T for Tolstoy: this book was read as a part of the A to Z challenge.