'Anna Karenin' by Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy
(translated by Rosemary Edmonds)
January 4 - 10, 853 pages
Everybody seems to gush about this book. It has even been called 'the greatest of a novels'. I was very much looking forward to reading it. And it lived up to my expectations. Fantastic. It was surprisingly easy to read (but gosh Russian names are complicated) - I expected verbose language with pages of adjectives to describe a flower. Instead, I found myself reading it quite quickly and easily. I like the way that Tolstoy doesn't ask his readers to make judgements or form opinion, he lets us watch and experience Russian life. We follow various characters who find themselves in unique situations, with unique ways of dealing with them. This book is thought-provoking, emotive, interesting, tragic, and beautiful. Oh look, I'm gushing.
I want to read more Russian literature.
For the record, Russian names are made up of the first name given by parents (which has many different forms - official, short, affectionate, rude), then the patronymic name which is the father's first name with an ending, and finally their family name. Russians use the first two names, first and patronymic, in formal situations such as respected or unfamiliar people.