The Melville House imprints of these books have so much additional material (over half of the book!) that you forget a lot of what the story was about by the time you get to the end. Having said that, this is an interesting and engaging tale that is probably significantly elevated by the historical contexts and illuminations. Great Russian characters to be found here.

Your reading activity
Dates 31 July 2013 – 18 August 2013
Time spent reading 4 hours, 30 minutes
Highlights 17
Comments 8
Used app Readmill
Friends who read
  • Sam Ryan Sam Ryan

Oh, how right Tolstoy was, how unmercifully right! And this made me feel better. In point of fact, brother, he truly is a great writer! Regardless of what anyone says.

Samoylenko, having never read Tolstoy but spent each day preparing to read him, felt embarrassed

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I feel like this about War and Peace. Need to pick the right moment to make a start!

Here’s what he used to say: in family life, the most important thing—is patience. Do you hear me, Vanya? Not love, but patience. Love can’t endure for long. You’ve lived in love for about two years, but now, evidently, your family life has taken a step into that period when you, let’s say, so as to maintain equilibrium, must put forth all of your patience …

Two years earlier, when he had fallen in love with Nadezhda Fyodorovna, he had been convinced that all he had to do was run off with Nadezhda Fyodorovna and to set off with her for the Caucasus, thus he would be spared the banality and emptiness of life; he was now equally convinced that all he had to do was cast off Nadezhda Fyodorovna and set off for Petersburg, thereby attaining all that he required.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

The grass is always greener...


Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

What a splendid word!

To be perpetually excited by nature is to reveal the poverty of your own imagination.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

David Attenborough—and I—would have to disagree.

At the point where the Black River fell into the Yellow, and black water resembling India ink sullied the yellow and struggled with it

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Sounds like Russia has its own version of the meeting of the waters in the Amazon.

This is the second summer that he’s lived in this stinking boondock because it’s better to be first in the village than second in the city.

Anna Karenina threw herself beneath a train

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Spoiler alert!

I can’t stand this benevolence or friendly favors that are a kopeck’s worth of doing, at a ruble’s worth of talk!

never base a question on, how would you say, philosophical or Christian ground; by doing so, you only grow further estranged from the question.

it’s useless to worry about getting your feet wet when there’s danger of a flood.

This is what Laevsky thought, sitting at the table late in the evening and even now continuing to rub his hands.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Image in my mind is of Ian McKellen in the fantastic film version of Macbeth. Brain so busy and self-obsessed with his predicament that his movements are completely involuntary.

“Hopefully, I won’t get attacked by Chechens,”

“You’re a pope, I’m a Muslim, you said you were hungry, I’m about to serve you … Only the wealthy sort out which God is yours, and which is mine, but for the poor, it’s all the same. Please, eat.”

The idea of the Byronic hero was a major influence on 19th century literature, and particularly on the Russian concept of the “superfluous man.”

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

The Melville House edition of the novella has some interesting insights.

“Paul,” cried the Countess from behind the screen, “send me some new novel, only pray don’t let it be one of the present day style.” “What do you mean, grandmother?” “That is, a novel, in which the hero strangles neither his father nor his mother, and in which there are no drowned bodies. I have a great horror of drowned persons.” “There are no such novels nowadays. Would you like a Russian one?”