Earlier this year FAB Member, Claire Bailey undertook the challenge of reading Anna Karenina in preparation for attending the now cancelled Sydney performances of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that became an epic ballet.
Many writers consider Anna Karenina the greatest work of literature ever. Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel. It is considered a complex book in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, spread over more than 800 pages!
The Friends of the Australian Ballet are deeply grateful and delighted to share this book review, prepared by avid reader and member of The Friends, Claire Bailey to entice and delight.
Anna Karenina – Book Review by Claire Bailey
Tolstoy’s tragic novel of Anna Karenina starts with the introduction of Anna’s relatives and their close friends. At first, I was confused as to why the author spent so much time on these other characters. However, as their stories progressed and entwined with Anna’s I grew attached to them and eager to see how their stories played out. Most compelling was the beautiful story of Levin. Levin is a sensitive character who battles self-confidence yet never truly gives up finding happiness.
When we are introduced to Anna we discover she is desperately unhappy in a loveless marriage and a life that does not reflect her true self. Her journey to find true love and happiness is brave and not without sacrifice with dire consequences. She soon finds herself torn between two choices: one that would lead her to a new life and the other closes the door on her past forever.
Perhaps the real heroine in the story is not Anna but her sister in-law Dolly. Dolly is a strong woman who has her own adversities. Dolly is instrumental in helping her family on their quest for love, happiness and finding inner peace.
Tolstoy’s story explores each character trying to find inner peace, and while some find it through love and forgiveness, others stories are far more tragic..
Have you recently read an inspiring book from the world of ballet? We welcome your feedback and reviews at email@example.com