I have been reading Anna Karenina for a while now. I have spent countless hours in the library with the heavy old hardback resting on my knees, as I witnessed Konstantin Dmitrich Levin long for Kitty and watched the incorrigible yet charming Stepan Arkadyich Oblonsky try to fix his marriage and that of his sister. Mostly though, I found myself at a loss, staring at the impenetrable gaze of Anna Karenina.
The story is a long one darling — you must forget about the world you know and the time on the clock to witness Tolstoy’s obsession with train stations. It all starts there, here, below in this paragraph, with the moment Vronsky meets Anna for the first time, when she is stepping out of the train.
“Vronsky followed the guard to the carriage, and at the door of the compartment he stopped short to make room for a lady who was getting out.
With the insight of a man of the world, from one glance at this lady’s appearance Vronsky classified her as belonging to the best society. He begged pardon, and was getting into the carriage, but felt he must glance at her once more; not that she was very beautiful, not on account of the elegance and modest grace which were apparent in her whole figure, but because in the expression of her charming face, as she passed close by him, there was something peculiarly caressing and soft. As he looked round, she too turned her head. Her shining gray eyes, that looked dark from the thick lashes, rested with friendly attention on his face, as though she were recognizing him, and then promptly turned away to the passing crowd, as though seeking someone. In that brief look Vronsky had time to notice the suppressed eagerness which played over her face, and flitted between the brilliant eyes and the faint smile that curved her red lips. It was as though her nature were so brimming over with something that against her will it showed itself now in the flash of her eyes, and now in her smile. Deliberately she shrouded the light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in the faintly perceptible smile.”
Have you read Anna Karenina? Share your thoughts below.