Anna Karenina – Part 4

Only 23 chapters folks. And even better – action-packed, passion-laden, desperation-filled chapters. You should all be so hooked on the book that you have completely caught up, right?

OK, maybe not. But you will. Things have gotten interesting again.

Anna and Karenin are sharing a house, but living like strangers. He makes a point of seeing her once a day, so as not to arouse suspicion, but will not eat at home. She is miserable and hating him more every day.

“Oh, why didn’t I die? It would have been better!”

She breaks her word and in invites Vronksy to the house while Karenin is out. Except he is not out, having returned early. Bad things happen. Divorce proceedings commence. Anna dreams that she will die in childbirth, and we are led to assume Vronsky has the same dream. When she is near death, she begs Karenin for forgiveness. In a rare display of emotion, he forgives her and Vronsky, even seems to discover a love for his wife, though underneath he knows it is too late.

In short: everyone is miserable and consumed by hate, passion or desperation (or some combination of the three).

“She had done all she could–she had run up to him and given herself up entirely, shy and happy. He put his arms round her and pressed his lips to her mouth that sought his kiss.

She too had not slept all night, and had been expecting him all the morning.”

Levin and Kitty finally reunite, discover they are still in love, and plan to marry. It is so sickly sweet, over-the-top romantic that I feel like something must go wrong soon. I am holding onto the hope that as they seem to be present in the story to provide a rational contrast to the desperate love affair of Anna and Vronsky, that things will continue to work out for them – this after all is what happens to the virtuous. At least in fiction.

I continue to be disgusted by Stiva’s shallowness, amused by Levin’s aloofness and angered by Karenin’s coldness. Vronsky continues to be shallow (his disappointment in Anna’s weight gain, during her advanced pregnancy, had me seething). Anna has moved from fascinating to desperate and heart-breaking (though perilously close to whiny and annoying).

On to Part V.

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