Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

Laurie Gillies, PhD
Student, MFA

I tried reading this book in high school and GAVE UP. Decades later, and with a new translation, I fell in love. I stayed up too late, night after night, riveted. Tolstoy captures a world that has disappeared and it’s a fascinating world. His extraordinary eye for detail and the beauty of his language is staggering. But it’s his characters and their development that really got to me. Seeing how much and how little people can change over time is so beautifully captured. Nobody is a stock character and even the buffoon is presented with humanity and dignity. If you haven’t tried Tolstoy since this translation came out, give it another look. Pevear and Volokhonsky won the Pen/Book-of-the Month Club Translation Award, a well deserved honor.
“The Translation Wars: How the race to translate Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky continues to spark feuds, end friendships, and create small fortunes.” David Remnick, The New Yorker
“Tolstoy’s Real Hero,” Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books
“The Judgment of Anna Karenina: Feminist Criticism and the Image of the Heroine,” Amy Mandelker, Framing Anna Karenina: Tolstoy, the Woman Question, and the Victorian Novel

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