Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #11. 1978.
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Yesterday, I finished reading "Anna Karenina" by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy and, to be honest, I’m slightly disappointed. It turned out to be different from what I’d expected. Not worse, but different.

It goes without saying, Lev Tolstoy was an incredibly intelligent and talented man. His works are masterpieces of Russian literature, and they became a part of our cultural code. People discuss them everywhere: on TV, at school, at home, etc. For example, I knew the plot of Anna Karenina since I was 11, especially the most intriguing parts such as Anna’s love affair and her death. Moreover, the main reason why I didn’t want to read it was the fact that I knew it so well. There wasn’t much room for my personal interpretation, as everything important had already been said by the literary critics. 
However, after the movie had been released, I felt the need to read the original source before watching Joe Wright’s take on it in order to compare the two.

So I read the book and didn’t like it. I guess, the main problem is that Tolstoy’s attitude to life differs from mine very much. I was particularly ambivalent about his religious beliefs and moral values. Things that caused his enthusiasm (and you can see what the writer likes by the way he presents his characters) wasn’t so enthusiastic for me.Anna Karenina represents the vast panorama of Russian life in the latter half of the nineteenth century. There are a lot of domestic themes, descriptions of everyday life as well as socio-political issues. However, compared to War and Peace, it lacks action. I know, these two books are completely different and written for different purposes. Besides, I sound like a typical asshole “Generation Y” representative who is obsessed with blockbusters, but I do need action. Although Tolstoy’s language is beautiful, sometimes he becomes too engaged in the process of describing the situation rather than developing it.

The main character, Anna, is not really appealing to me even though I pity her. Towards the end, she becomes really jealous and fussy, she can’t make reliable decisions and it makes me angry. I just don’t like that type of people. On the other hand, she wanted to be honest with herself, but failed because, let’s face it, the society has never encouraged honesty, especially in women. 
Other characters didn’t impress me either. They are well developed and versatile, so my antipathy to them is based only on my personal preferences and definitely not on Tolstoy’s style. Because, I will say it again, his style is incredible.

All in all, I feel really stupid writing that because I’m criticizing a professional (highly appreciated and beloved one) from an amateur point of view. However, that’s my honest review. The style is amazing, the plot is not my cup of tea. 

The next step is the movie. Maybe it will change my perception and make me appreciate the book more? We’ll see…

As for the artwork, it’s Cindy Sherman’s photo from her early series Untitled Film Stills. Another woman who questions you what it means to be true to yourself. And how to know that you are being yourself? Maybe you are just a bunch of cliches approved by the society?

Untitled Film Still #11. 1978.
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

xx AN xx

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #11. 1978.
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Yesterday, I finished reading "Anna Karenina" by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy and, to be honest, I’m slightly disappointed. It turned out to be different from what I’d expected. Not worse, but different.

It goes without saying, Lev Tolstoy was an incredibly intelligent and talented man. His works are masterpieces of Russian literature, and they became a part of our cultural code. People discuss them everywhere: on TV, at school, at home, etc. For example, I knew the plot of Anna Karenina since I was 11, especially the most intriguing parts such as Anna’s love affair and her death. Moreover, the main reason why I didn’t want to read it was the fact that I knew it so well. There wasn’t much room for my personal interpretation, as everything important had already been said by the literary critics.
However, after the movie had been released, I felt the need to read the original source before watching Joe Wright’s take on it in order to compare the two.

So I read the book and didn’t like it. I guess, the main problem is that Tolstoy’s attitude to life differs from mine very much. I was particularly ambivalent about his religious beliefs and moral values. Things that caused his enthusiasm (and you can see what the writer likes by the way he presents his characters) wasn’t so enthusiastic for me.
Anna Karenina represents the vast panorama of Russian life in the latter half of the nineteenth century. There are a lot of domestic themes, descriptions of everyday life as well as socio-political issues. However, compared to War and Peace, it lacks action. I know, these two books are completely different and written for different purposes. Besides, I sound like a typical asshole “Generation Y” representative who is obsessed with blockbusters, but I do need action. Although Tolstoy’s language is beautiful, sometimes he becomes too engaged in the process of describing the situation rather than developing it.

The main character, Anna, is not really appealing to me even though I pity her. Towards the end, she becomes really jealous and fussy, she can’t make reliable decisions and it makes me angry. I just don’t like that type of people. On the other hand, she wanted to be honest with herself, but failed because, let’s face it, the society has never encouraged honesty, especially in women.
Other characters didn’t impress me either. They are well developed and versatile, so my antipathy to them is based only on my personal preferences and definitely not on Tolstoy’s style. Because, I will say it again, his style is incredible.

All in all, I feel really stupid writing that because I’m criticizing a professional (highly appreciated and beloved one) from an amateur point of view. However, that’s my honest review. The style is amazing, the plot is not my cup of tea.

The next step is the movie. Maybe it will change my perception and make me appreciate the book more? We’ll see…

As for the artwork, it’s Cindy Sherman’s photo from her early series Untitled Film Stills. Another woman who questions you what it means to be true to yourself. And how to know that you are being yourself? Maybe you are just a bunch of cliches approved by the society?

Untitled Film Still #11. 1978.
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

xx AN xx