Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Anna K

Thanks for the feedback on the televised version. Interestingly, even 750 pages of the novel doesn't give what I felt was a comprehensive account of Anna's feelings! She seemed to be viewed from the outside, with Tolstoy (like everyone else) entranced by her beauty and charm, but he never really seemed to work out what made her tick. Her decisions - and there were a lot of smaller ones as well as the biggies in this category - were often baffling to the reader. I'm not sure if Tolstoy meant this or not. While it is difficult to convey someone making illogical or self-sabotaging decisions, it is of course possible for a very skilled writer to convince the reader that the person's character bred these decisions, and even that they have an internally consistent logic to them. And I'm sure we all know people who behave like this regularly and, over time, one can sometimes even get a handle on how/why. But Tolstoy couldn't or didn't really communicate this, which I found a bit frustrating. Which, of course, he may have intended! I certainly concur with Valerie who has - as usual - found the mot juste: "substantial". It is much more satisfying to read a book that has something meaty to it. cf "The Bone People", "The Poisonwood Bible" etc. Perhaps I'm in denial about my feelings about fat books after all?