Anna Karenina Readalong

Main characters and relations in Anna Karenina...

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“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” —C.S. LEWIS

Wallace at Unputdownables is hosting a readalong of “Anna Karenina.”  I was one of the first to tell her I was in and she had a copy of the book that she sent to me, so I have a BIG, beautiful copy of the book!  I was a little behind, as I didn’t start reading it until Wednesday night, but it was easy to catch up and I finished our assigned reading for the week last night.  Handling it in chunks is going to be nice.  Discussing it with others is going to be even nicer!

Because I just finished my book club book (“Loving Frank“) and just had book club discussion about it last night, it was still fresh in my mind when I was reading Anna Karenina.  So my first thoughts of the book are in relation to that book and the book discussion.

How are they related, you ask?  Mamah, the ‘mistress’ in Loving Frank was a language scholar and worked as a translator.  So when I began reading AK, I thought a lot about the translators and the roles that they play in the storytelling.  I thought the description that Mamah gave to Frank about how a good translator takes not only the words but the thoughts and feelings behind the words to find the best translation was very interesting, and something that I hadn’t really thought of before this time.  Frank and Mamah worked on poetry and prose together and attempted to put out beautiful translations.

Another topic that came up in discussion last night was whether or not affairs were more or less commonplace in the past than they are today.  There were mixed feelings about it, because the stigma of divorce and societal exclusion in the past may have made illicit affairs more common.  People had to go very underground if they were pulled by a new attraction.  People married for different reasons in the past (at least in these books!), not necessarily for love, so if they felt attraction and understanding outside of their marriage it may have been not as difficult to ignore.

I’m not sure of those ramblings made much sense, but it framed the thoughts that I had while reading this first section of AK.  I thought it was interesting that it was out there for all (in the family) to know when Stiva had an affair.  No secrets kept between husband and wife alone.  Makes you wonder about their relationship in particular and marriages in general in this time, in this country, in this nobility.

Well, those are some general (not specific to Wallace’s questions today!) thoughts about week one of AK!  Yay!

Off to read!