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February 27, 2012

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Great choice for a re-read project, Anna. This is probably my favorite classic novel of all time, barely edging out Bleak House. What I love most is that it's a novel no publisher would come within thirty miles of today. It's too uneven, too perfectly imperfect in its structure to fit what novels have to do today. And that's what I love about it. There's plenty of plot, but it doesn't feel in the least bit slick or plotted. If Dostoyevski wants to put a huge parable right in the middle, he does it, pacing be damned. It feels like he can do whatever he wants to.

Well heck, how can I not read it after that!?!?! I've been wanting to try the big D for awhile...

I started Anna Karenina once while on a backpacking trip in the Alps, but I left it at a hut, too heavy ;)

I love this post. I too remember being inspired to read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, dedicating each summer of college to a different volume I faithfully dragged around with me (Ann Arbor, home, Guatemala - where I was known as The Girl with the Book): Anna, Brothers K, War and Peace. I was also inspired by your boyfriend; he had such immense passion for Russian literature that was impossible to not be infected by. After I finished, and especially now, I wished I had been underlining or copying over parts of Brothers K (my favorite of the 3) that struck me, because there were so, so many. I may have to re-read it too, to join you and M :)

This post has sparked a collective encounter of the book with other readers: it will be hosted on a private blog and featuring several remarkable readers in conversation with one another. If you want to join us, please let me know and I'll send you the information on signing up. Cheers!

I would love to converse with other lovers of Russian literature, and Brothers K in particular. Sign me up!

I love re-reading things. The power of books is not inherent within them, but in the reaction it causes within us - "the elevation of soul," as Poe described beauty. That reaction changes as we change, even if the book is the same. Our different reactions thus become metrics or mile markers of our emotional and intellectual maturity. Pauline Kael said she never watched movies more than once - perhaps, as a critic, differing reactions to the same movie by the same person would be a threat to her profession.

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