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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Review: Anna Karenina - A Fitting Book to Read During Christmas

"I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there
are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts." Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina

A proper 'hugot' line if there was one, yun lang, this one was written more than 150 years ago, yet it still sounds appropriate now as it did during that time - especially that many young people have embraced all kinds of love - not only that between a man and a woman.

Anyhow, one thing I failed to notice when I read Anna Karenina in college was that the book is actually a good read during the Christmas season!

Well, there is that adultery story of the book's namesake, but there is an equally powerful story of the other co-protagonist in the novel, Konstantin Levin.

This is not a book for atheists as Levin's character realizes in the end that all his actions were guided by his faith in God - and it's a beautiful message that one can learn once again, especially during Christmas - especially from this novel which delves very deeply on how the aristocracy treated the peasants, the hypocrisy of high society and the double standard between men and women.

The lessons one can learn here I have learned a long time ago - to live your life the way you want it and not as society dictates you to; that even if people tell you that you are living in sin, that you live your life with integrity and honesty; and to treat everyone you meet in life, with respect, regardless of their social status.

Tolstoy's writing prowess is definitely in display here - and the part that I liked is also the most tragic. I love the way he wrote the part where Anna Karenina's characters was slowly going into self-destruction.

It begins very subtly, and then it gains steam and ends up like a powerful landslide, smothering the heroine, quickly. The change in mood was very frightening to read, and if one was not familiar with the story, her suicide would have come as a shock - considering how out-of-character it is from the Anna that we first meet in the first part of the book.

I will go for a more frivolous fiction book after this. My imagination has traveled through time and has been enriched greatly by the clarity of the vision of Tolstoy's characters.

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