“Every heart has its own skeletons.”
A scandal never gets old. It’s crazy how the human society works. We are trained consciously and subconsciously right from our birth to put up this facade of righteousness around us, while all we covertly scavenge for and relish is the darkness and the fall of anyone but ourselves.
Anna Karenina is a satire on the society, politics, war and the human character. It is also a love story and a hate story. Anna is not perfect. Anna is not righteous by the book. But, when has perfection attracted us so much as the flaws? Anything or anyone who has that power to lure our inner demons, make us feel vulnerable and in danger of melting down the facade we have been building so ardently since we can remember ourselves, is the thing we try our best not to confront and when we do, more often than not, we surrender.
We watch so many stories run parallel in the book, each dealing with its own ends and beginnings. We see hypocrisy staring right at our faces through every flip of the page. So much is said through the gasps and the symbols that we are left overwhelmed. Adultery, betrayal, rejection, apathy, hatred, passion, contempt, rage, jealousy, egoism, selfishness and love, we see every facet in its truest, raw form.
Each of the characters stand for something unique, fighting their own battles and insecurities and if we look closely, we can actually find an alter ego for ourselves, somewhere there. Although the story is set in the eighteenth century as an epilogue to the Emancipation of the Serfs, it is timeless. Levin and Kitty, Dolly and Stiva, Anna and Karenin and Vronsky and Anna; for once, a novel does not try to fool us into believing in the magic of love at first sight or happily ever after. We see the love kindle, flame up, soar and wither and on some occasions, rekindle. We watch Anna fall, never to pick herself again and feel somehow emancipated.
I can never put down into words the genius of Tolstoy. I often hear people declare ‘War and Peace‘ as his magnum opus. Not having read it yet, I can hardly imagine anything more engaging than Anna Karenina and if there is, I would definitely check it out soon enough.
Anna Karenina is another novel on the longer side, takes its time to build up and settle in. It talks freely of a lot of things, meanders and saunters through philosophy and life, but leaves us with a magnificent story as it ends.