Posted by: victanguera | January 29, 2010

Anna Karenina (Or How Not to Write)

I finished Anna Karenina last night. After slogging my way through the book, I realized that most of those writing rules we now have in place exist to prevent this kind of writing.

For example, how does one “smile ironically”? That phrase started to get under my skin after about the third time he used it. Unfortunately, it occurs in almost every conversation. I’m glad he pointed it out though, as I missed the irony.

Tolstoy used so many adjectives in his story, I started to despise any word ending in “ly”. I’ve taken out my red pen and will now search my own document and scrub out every one in my own writing.

Tell, tell, tell. Yawn. He didn’t engage me at all. I didn’t get to witness any of the action, even when it occurred right in front of me. Maybe all his characters made up after a fight by having sex, and he couldn’t let me see that. (Although that would be a little creepy for all those long winded political discussions between the fellows…)

A main character that isn’t the main character at all, and has nothing to do with the plot–probably because the plot doesn’t exist. The book is a support to uphold Tolstoy’s personal views on politics and religion.

Spoiler: After Anna dies, it doesn’t affect ANYONE. Or at least we don’t get to see it. He ends the book in a discourse on Konstantin Levin’s spiritual revelation. It isn’t even brought about because he reflects on Anna’s death. It has nothing to do with her. Well, probably because the entire book has nothing to do with her.



  1. Hi,
    Nothing to do with this blog, but there’s something over on my blog for you today… 🙂

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